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International Issues Update 2023/28

By July 21, 2023August 1st, 2023No Comments


  • Arranging client events for APEC
  • Supporting corporate survey outreach to international organizations
  • Providing input ahead of Section 301 China tariffs 4-year review
  • Coordinating U.S. agriculture input ahead of multilateral food systems and climate events

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.


Upcoming events:

  • July 25: American Institute in Taiwan Chair Laura Rosenberger, Priorities for political and economic engagement with Taiwan
  • July 26: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing Heather Evans, Advancing U.S. manufacturing competitiveness

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.



The latest in a series of senior U.S. visitors to China, U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry traveled to China July 16-19 for detailed climate negotiations and meetings with Chinese Vice President Han Zheng, Senior diplomat Wang Yi, Premier Li Qiang, and Climate Envoy Xie Zhenhua. Similar to recent visits to China by Secretaries of State Anthony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Secretary Kerry’s visit failed to lead to any breakthroughs, but both sides agreed to continued dialogue. 

Not helped by news that China-based hackers infiltrated senior U.S. officials’ emails (including that of U.S. Ambassador to China Nick Burns), attention continues to focus on tension and competition in the bilateral relationship. The House China Select Committee hosted: 

  • A July 17 hearing on “Leveling the Playing Field: How to Counter the Chinese Communist Party’s Economic Aggression” with former USTR Robert Lighthizer and others, who called for additional trade restrictions and defended tariffs imposed under the Trump administration.
  • A July 19 “thunderdome debate” on revoking China’s Permanent Normal Trade Relations status and imposing sweeping export and investment controls.
  • A July 20 hearing featuring testimony from senior Defense, State and Commerce officials. House Select Committee Chair Mike Gallagher (R-WI) criticized “interagency purgatory” and “zombie engagement” for preventing new sanctions following the Chinese aircraft incidents earlier this year. 

The China Select Committee has also reportedly subpoenaed several venture capital firms, seeking information on investments in advanced Chinese technology, to inform new legislation barring similar investments. The White House continues to consider an executive order imposing a review process similar on outbound investment. China’s new 31-point action plan for private sector support is likely to drive further concern by U.S. lawmakers and officials. 

Contact: Pat Sheehy


Russia withdrew on July 17 from the Black Sea Grain Deal, demanding most sanctions relief as a precondition of resuming participation. While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he intends to continue exports via Odessa, Russia has threatened that cargo ships leaving Odessa will now be considered valid military targets. The withdrawal could disrupt Russian relations with China, which has been a key beneficiary of the deal, and with Africa just ahead of a summit with African leaders next week in Saint Petersburg. 

State and Treasury announced new sanctions targeting almost 120 individuals in total, including from the Russian defense, engineering, high tech, and energy sectors, as well as Kyrgyz and UAE actors linked to smuggling electronic components. The July 19 inaugural meeting of the U.S.-UK Strategic Sanctions Dialogue focused on coordination in imposing and enforcing sanctions measures.  

The Bureau of Industry and Security released July 19 guidance on how to best file applications to export medical items to Russia, to enable interagency reviewers to accurately identify and quickly process shipments of least concern. 

Contact: Pat Sheehy

European Union 

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and EU Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis continued on July 20 their frequent meetings on the proposed Global Arrangement for Sustainable Steel and Aluminum, in what Ambassador Tai characterized as a “direct and candid” exchange. Dombrovskis said prior to the meeting that the two sides hope to meet an October deadline to prevent the reimposition of U.S. Section 232 tariffs and EU retaliation, but he warned the EU will not back any agreement it feels violates WTO rules.  

Also on July 20, the European Council authorized the European Commission to proceed with negotiations on a U.S.-EU Critical Minerals Agreement (CMA), approving negotiating directives related to strengthening supply chains for electric vehicle batteries while promoting environmental and labor standards. The agreement, if reached, would be intended to provide the EU with an equivalent status to U.S. free trade agreement partners for the purpose of the clean vehicle tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

The Commerce Department launched on July 17 the Data Privacy Framework (DPF) program website, enabling eligible U.S. companies to self-certify their participation in the EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework, facilitating cross-border transfers of personal data in compliance with EU law.

Contact: Stephen Ziehm

Quick takes

  • The Senate passed by unanimous consent a bill codifying Congressional approval of the Biden administration’s initial trade agreement with Taiwan and directing USTR to provide negotiating texts of any future agreements with Taiwan to the Senate Finance and House Ways & Means Committees. The administration has contended that the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade deal does not require Congressional approval. 
  • The State Department announced a new semiconductor manufacturing partnership with Panama, to begin with a review of Panama’s current semiconductor ecosystem, regulatory framework, and workforce and infrastructure needs. A similar effort with Costa Rica is under consideration. 
  • A July 20 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) allowed importers to incorrectly claim exclusions from Section 232 steel and aluminum exclusions. The report recommends stricter controls and possible steps to recover duties owed by importers retroactively.
  • Indo-Pacific Economic Framework partners concluded on July 15 in South Korea their fourth round of negotiations, announcing progress on Pillars I (Trade), III (Clean Economy), and IV (Fair Economy), as well as advancement of the legal review of the proposed IPEF Supply Chain Agreement (Pillar II).
  • Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor will lead an agribusiness trade mission to Malaysia and Singapore October 30-November 3, and USDA is accepting participation applications until August 2. 


Federal Register Notices

Newly Introduced Legislation


  • H.R.4806 (Santos, R-NY) Would prohibit foreign nations from owning certain facilities, buildings, and land
  • H.R.4729 (Connolly, D-VA), Would authorize negotiation and conclusion and to provide for congressional consideration of a tax agreement between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO)
  • H.R.4723 (Wagner, R-MO), Would provide for sanctions with respect to foreign persons undermining the Dayton Peace Agreement or threatening the security of Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • H.R.4691 (Self, R-TX), Would provide for congressional review of actions to terminate or waive sanctions imposed with respect to Iran
  • H.R.4673 (Banks, R-IN), Would withdraw normal trade relations treatment from products of the PRC
  • H.R.4665 (Diaz-Balart, R-FL), Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act for FY 2024

Upcoming Congressional Hearings




  • Andrea Goldstein, HHS Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration
  • Monte Hawkins, NSC Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Transborder
  • Sarah Weinstein, Commerce Director of Public Affairs 
  • Tim Stumhofer, Treasury Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Director of Climate Risk


  • Anabel Gonzalez, WTO Deputy Director General

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.