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International Issues Update 2023/21

By May 26, 2023July 31st, 2023No Comments

ON OUR DESKS

  • Assisting clients to resolve in-country commercial issues 
  • Assessing consumer sentiment on novel food trends
  • Monitoring critical minerals and global sustainable steel negotiations

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.


WIBC DISCUSSIONS

Upcoming WIBC events:

  • May 31: Embassy of China Minister-Counsellor for Economic and Commercial Affairs Jiang Lyu, China’s post-COVID economic policy agenda and relations with the United States
  • June 6: Japanese Deputy Chief of Mission Tamaki Tsukada, U.S.-Japan relations and Japan’s G7 presidency

REMINDER: Our client portal, WIBC calendar, and other resources are available at redflag.global/washington.

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


YOU NEED TO KNOW

G7 Summit

Closing the G7 Summit on May 21, leaders issued a comprehensive communiqué addressing, among other topics, the bloc’s shared support for Ukraine and approaches on de-risking economic relations with China. Regarding economic security, the bloc did not name China but made pointed references to “addressing economic coercion” in addition to enhancing economic resilience. Leaders said the group does not seek to “thwart” China’s economic development but identified maritime disputes, Taiwan, human rights abuses, and other areas where the G7 will undertake a common approach.

The leaders’ clean energy statement reiterated the bloc’s commitment to “accelerate the global clean energy transition to reach net zero emissions by 2050” and stressed the role of trade, including trade in products like critical minerals and application of trade policy that accounts for “embedded emissions.” Other topics of discussion included food security, nuclear disarmament, and development financing.

On the sidelines of the summit, G7 leaders affirmed their commitment to the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) and announced a new annual PGII Investor Forum. The Export-Import bank relatedly announced a series of investments under the PGII, including through the China and Transformational Exports Program. In the days leading up to the G7, heads of the G7 Export Credit Agency (ECA) met to discuss collaborating to secure access to raw materials, address climate related issues, agree to play an active role in Ukraine’s, and to affirm swift implementation of the modernized OECD Arrangement rules.

China and Russia will reportedly host visits this week as the two continue to pursue close relations. Russia described the G7 as “indulging in their own greatness,” while the Chinese commerce ministry subsequently remarked China hopes the G7 countries will not “abuse” trade and investment restrictions.

Contact: Pat Sheehy, Ethan Knecht

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)

The United States hosted the APEC Senior Officials Meeting and related meetings May 14-26 in Detroit. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg chaired the May 15-17 APEC Transportation Ministerial. U.S. officials participated in a diverse range of meetings and addressed issues ranging from economic inclusion of persons with disabilities to financing minority-serving institutions, universal labor rights, and addressing education and employment needs of underserved populations.

U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai opened the May 25-26 APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting, with remarks noting that Detroit “has experienced firsthand some of the negative impact of aggressive liberalization and deindustrialization” and calling for APEC to pursue creative economic solutions. The MRT agenda will focus on interconnectedness, innovation, and inclusivity.

The May 2023 APEC Regional Trends Analysis forecasts slower and more uneven growth in the short-term, with continuing risks of “stubborn inflation, high debt, financial sector strains and geoeconomic fragmentation.”

Following the APEC meetings, the United States will host May 27 the second meeting of IPEF ministers, which follows the third IPEF negotiating round held May 8-15 in Singapore. Ambassador Tai and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo are expected to hold a press conference May 27 at the conclusion of the ministerial, and some reports indicate they may announce agreement on IPEF’s supply chain pillar.

Contact: Stephen Ziehm

China

Commerce Secretary Raimondo hosted Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao in Washington May 25, ahead of Minister Wang’s attendance at the APEC MRT and a bilateral meeting with Ambassador Tai. The meeting, described by Commerce as “candid and substantive,” was the first U.S.-China cabinet-level exchange in months. China’s new ambassador to the United States Xie Feng also arrived in Washington this week. While President Biden had predicted a “thaw” in relations with China and the White House welcomed renewed engagement, China questioned the “sincerity and significance” of communications, and challenges continue.

Microsoft announced on May 24 sophisticated Chinese state hacking of critical infrastructure in Guam and elsewhere. Microsoft noted that “behavior suggests that the threat actor intends to perform espionage and maintain access without being detected for as long as possible.” The focus on Guam is of particular concern due to the island’s strategic significance as a U.S. base in any future potential conflict over Taiwan. Meanwhile, China on May 22 banned the use of Idaho-based semiconductor manufacturer Micron’s products in China’s critical information infrastructure, triggering pressure for the administration to respond.

The U.S. House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party approved its first set of policy recommendations, proposing legislative action to strengthen U.S. efforts against forced labor in China and to deter conflict with Taiwan. Some of the recommendations could find a home in the National Defense Authorization Act.

Contact: Patrick Sheehy, Ethan Knecht, Chris Benscher

Quick takes

  • EU and US lawmakers joined a letter criticizing the United Arab Emirates’ appointment of oil executive Sultan al Jaber to oversee the UAE’s 2023 presidency of the UN climate summit.
  • The United States hosted the first North America Semiconductor Conference in Washington and officially launched the North American Ministerial Committee on Economic Competitiveness (NAMCEC). At the conference, the United States, Canada, and Mexico agreed to information exchange, workforce development cooperation, joint investments in semiconductor technologies, and future biannual government dialogues.
  • USTR released summaries of the U.S.-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations, covering agriculture, anti-corruption, MSMEs, and domestic services regulation. 
  • The House fell short of the two-thirds majority required to override President Biden’s two-year moratorium on tariffs for imports of solar equipment from Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
  • House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, (D-NY) appointed nine members to a new agriculture and nutrition task force seeking to lay out House Democrats’ priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill. The task force is chaired by Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS).

NOTICES, BILLS & HEARINGS

Federal Register Notices

Newly Introduced Legislation

House

  • H.R.3739 (Wenstrup, R-OH) Would provide for the liquidation or reliquidation of certain entries of products of European Union member states
  • H.R.3697 (Green, D-TX) Would preempt State prohibitions on foreign real estate purchases
  • H.R.3685 (Davidson, R-OH) Would prohibit U.S. assistance to foreign countries that oppose the U.S. position before the United Nations
  • H.R.3665 (Smith, R-MO) Would enforce remedies against extraterritorial taxes and discriminatory taxes of foreign countries
  • H.R.3654 (Smith, R-NJ) Would address foreign government transnational repression against private individuals
  • H.R.3653 (Smith, R-NE) Would give the President authority to enter into a comprehensive trade agreement with the United Kingdom
  • H.R.3611 (Panetta, D-CA) Would authorize the extension of normal trade relations treatment to the products of Kazakhstan
  • H.R.3598/H.R.3597 (Santos, R-NY) Would direct the Secretary of State to assess China’s role in the U.S. fentanyl crisis/ would impose sanctions against China

Upcoming Congressional Hearings

Senate

WHO’S WHO

Arrivals

  • Ambassador Catalina Crespo-Sancho, Ambassador of Costa Rica to the United States
  • Mr. Derek Kitchen, U.S. Export-Import Bank Acting Senior Vice President for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Dr. Hila Levy, NSC Director for Science, Technology, and Workforce Strategy
  • Mr. Jason Israel, NSC Senior Director for Defense
  • Ambassador Xie Feng, Ambassador of China to the United States

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


UPCOMING EVENTS

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