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International Issues Update 2023/18

By May 5, 2023July 31st, 2023No Comments


  • Advising on developments in climate policy including the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM)
  • Coordinating outreach to key USG sanctions personnel on Russia related issues
  • Advising on status of the business visa backlog in key locations

These are just examples of client service. How can we help you? Email any IBC counsellor for assistance or consult our issues list to find the expert you’re looking for.


In case you missed it:

  • May 2: Deputy Staff Director at the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Sarah Arkin, Congressional approach to Russia
  • May 3: Commerce Deputy Chief Negotiator for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) Eric Holloway, IPEF pillar II-IV trade priorities

Upcoming WIBC events:

  • May 16: Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Ervin Massinga, U.S.-Sub-Saharan Africa political and economic relations
  • May 17: Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Agriculture Affairs and Commodity Policy Julie Callahan, The Administration’s agriculture trade priorities

REMINDER: Our client portal, WIBC calendar, and other resources are available at

WIBC discussions are open to WIBC members only. Not a member? Contact Alix for membership inquiries.



Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced this week efforts to craft a new China-focused bill, known as China Competition 2.0, over the coming months.  The legislation will include provisions not yet enacted into law from the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) and will build upon the Chips and Science Act.   Legislative aims include limiting the flow of advanced technology to the Chinese government using export controls and sanctions, screening U.S. investments to ensure capital flow does not benefit Chinese government-backed high tech industries, building alliances and economic partners to compete with China’s Belt and Road Initiative projects, and building the U.S. military to deter China from conflict with Taiwan. Committee chairs also plan to address critical minerals, forced labor prevention, and food security in the new China package. 

Also this week, the Senate followed the House and voted to overturn a Biden administration pause on tariffs on solar panel imports with Chinese content found to be evading U.S. trade remedies – but not with a high enough margin to withstand President Biden’s planned veto. The House Select Committee on China launched probes into four companies, sending letters to the heads of footwear, apparel and retail firms demanding answers about claims their companies could be implicated in forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region.

In a sign of possibly improving bilateral ties, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Change Kerry disclosed that the Chinese government has invited him to Beijing to restart talks on climate change following a recent virtual meeting with his counterpart Xie Zhenhu. U.S.-China climate negotiations had previously been halted due to then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan.  In addition, Secretary of State Antony Blinken on May 3 said he hoped to make a trip to China sometime in 2023, stressing the need to “reestablish regular lines of communication at all levels and across our government.” China has rebuffed U.S. attempts at rescheduling senior level engagements originally planned for early 2023 but derailed by reaction to China’s spy balloon overflight of the United States. 

Contact: Chris Benscher, Ethan Knecht, Pat Sheehy

Western Hemisphere

U.S. officials emphasized the importance of cooperation with Latin America this week during the 53rd Washington Conference on the Americas, stressing a regional focus on the energy transition, worker’s rights, diversity and inclusiveness, and digital cooperation. U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk noted Latin America’s potential as a green energy and friend-shoring partner for the United States, stating,  “We’re going to need to have reliable supply chains with countries that are democracies and countries that have that political stability over a period of time.”  U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai remarked that the innovations of USMCA could be applied elsewhere in the region, although she demurred on whether other countries would be able to accede to the agreement or copy similar models.  Meanwhile, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved on May 3 a revised version of the “Western Hemisphere Partnership Act,” (S. 1325), encouraging the Biden administration to strengthen U.S. security, diplomatic and trade ties in the region.

Additionally, Mexico’s Senate passed a controversial mining reform law that would shorten concessions from 50 to 30 years and would require some profits to be shared with local communities. In a meeting between Ambassador Tai and her Canadian counterpart, the two trade ministers expressed their shared concerns on “certain Mexican energy and agricultural biotechnology measures that continue to threaten U.S. and Canadian investments and exports, and recent changes in Mexico’s mining law.”

The presidents of Argentina and Brazil met to discuss new financing to facilitate trade without U.S. dollars due to Argentina’s ongoing currency crisis. This comes on the heels of the two countries’ tentative bilateral agreements with China that would avoid, if implemented, using the U.S. dollar in bilateral trade. The two sides also stated that they intend to “deepen fraternal ties and bilateral trade.” The meeting comes as Paraguay’s newly-elected president expressed a desire to revitalize the Mercosur trade bloc.

Contact: Ethan Knecht, Pat Sheehy

Quick takes

  • National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan outlined the Biden administration’s Middle East policy ahead of a visit to Saudi Arabia. Sullivan described U.S. a strategy built on twin pillars of deterrence and diplomacy, “eschew[ing] grand designs or unrealistic promises of transformational change” and instead focusing on pragmatic efforts to lower tensions in an “overly pressurized” region. Sullivan touted a series of de-escalatory diplomatic achievements and economic outreach as part of this strategy while emphasizing the U.S. commitment to deterring adversaries like Iran. 
  • The White House announced a new National Standards Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technology, a USG-wide effort to ensure that the technical standards used in cutting edge technology advance U.S. priorities. 
  • NATO and Japan will reportedly establish dedicated missions in Tokyo and Brussels, respectively, and intend to sign an agreement enhancing their cooperation ahead of  July’s upcoming NATO Summit in Vilnius.
  • President Biden established sanctions authorities for parties destabilizing Sudan in an Executive Order issued on May 4. The administration has not designated anyone under this authority as of May 5. 


Federal Register Notices

Newly Introduced Legislation


  • H.R.3070 (Steil, R-WI) Would prohibit licenses and waivers from sanctions to be issued to Iran related authorities. 
  • H.R.3067 (Salazar, R-FL) Would impose sanctions against certain officials of Argentina.
  • H.R.3057 (Jackson, R-TX) To make it not a requirement for scope-3 greenhouse-gas emissions disclosures under securities laws. 
  • H.R.3053 (Good, R-VA) Would prohibit contributions to the UN Green Climate Fund. 
  • H.R.3036 (Baird, R-IN) Would provide food security technical assistance. 
  • H.R.3035 (Wilson, R-SC) Would require the President to make a determination in relation to the application of Iran sanctions.
  • H.R.3033 (Steel, R-CA) Would repeal the sunset provision of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996.
  • H.R.3012 (Young, R-CA) Would reauthorize the North Korea Human Rights Act of 2004. 
  • H.R.2993 (Banks, R-IN) Would counter China’s military-civil fusion strategy and prevent U.S. contributions to the development of dual-use technologies in China.


  • S.1465 (Durbin, D-IL) Would establish the Baltic Security Initiative.
  • S.1457 (Menendez, D-NJ) Would authorize negotiations to conclude a tax agreement between the  American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO).
  • S.1434 (Hawley, R-MO) Would require certain businesses to disclose and eradicate the use of unlawful child labor in their supply chain. 
  • S.1433/S.1432/S.1430/S.1429 (Lummis, R-WY) Would exempt certain aviation and other entities from liability for the release of PFAS. 
  • S.1421 (Baldwin, D-WI) Would require origin and location disclosures for new products of Foreign origin offered for sale on the internet. 
  • S.1390 (Scott, R-SC) Would repeal the sunset provision of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings





  • Mr. Amos Hochstein, Senior Adviser to the President for Energy and Investment
  • Mr. Brent Neiman, Deputy Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs
  • Ms. Ellie Collinson, USTDA Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer
  • Mr. Josh Black, NSC Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs
  • Ms. Keri Lowry, DFC Chief of Staff 
  • Mr. Sam Michel, Acting Assistant USTR for Public Affairs


  • Ms. Stephanie Epner, NSC Acting Senior Director for Climate and Energy

Want more scoops on personnel moves? Find the most recent Who’s Who here.


Looking farther ahead? Find the most recent full international events calendar here.