ON OUR DESKS
- Monitoring USMCA dispute developments and automotive rules of origin hearing
- Preparing executive briefings ahead of client travel to South East Asia
- Developing content and client participation options for November 2022 UN Climate Summit
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:
- WIBC meetings are on summer break for August and will return in September
Up next: Register for upcoming WIBC discussions here
WIBC discussions are open to WIBC members only. Not a member? Contact Christina for membership inquiries.
YOU NEED TO KNOW
Having negotiated to secure Senator Krysten Sinema’s (D-AZ) support by amending the bill’s tax provisions including removing limits on the “carried interest loophole” and softening the proposed 15% minimum corporate tax, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is expected to bring the Inflation Reduction Act (H.R 5376) to a vote before the August recess. Democrats may need to make further changes to the bill if the Senate Parliamentarian determines any provisions do not meet the budget reconciliation rules. If the bill passes the Senate, the House plans to return for a vote on August 12.
Contact: Chris Benscher
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) visited Taiwan August 3-4 despite opposition from the White House and Chinese threats of retribution. During her visit, Speaker Pelosi met with senior Taiwanese leaders, including President Tsai Ing-Wen, and proposed a U.S.-Taiwan Trade Agreement which would go well beyond the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade announced by USTR in June.
China condemned the visit and responded by conducting escalated military drills, closing parts of Taiwan’s air space, halting certain imports from Taiwan, and threatening to suspend cooperation with the United States on a range of issues including climate change.
Contact: Chris Benscher
Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Cambodia for the U.S.-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, and the ASEAN Regional Forum and conducting side meetings with counterparts from Cambodia, Indonesia, India, the European Union, Qatar, Sri Lanka, and Korea. Blinken notably did not meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi or Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, both of whom were in attendance.
Key topics of discussion during the meetings have included the crisis in Myanmar, global food security, and COVID-19 recovery. Secretary Blinken announced a new USAID Feed the Future project, Harvest III, that will provide $25 million in assistance to Cambodia’s agricultural sector. U.S.-China tensions spilled over into the events, with Chinese representatives protesting by walking out during key events.
Contact: Pat Sheehy
An August 2-3 USMCA dispute settlement panel heard arguments in Canada and Mexico’s case that the United States’ interpretation of automotive rules of origin violates USMCA obligations.
Canada and Mexico object to the U.S. interpretation that “core parts” that have partial regional content should not be counted as 100% North American origin in the calculation of the USMCA’s 75% vehicle regional content threshold. Canada and Mexico say the U.S. interpretation will impair their benefits by causing auto producers to forgo taking advantage of the USMCA tariff preference. A ruling in favor of Canada and Mexico could trigger retaliatory trade measures. The panel is expected to make a final ruling by November 10.
Meanwhile, the U.S. International Trade Commission announced August 4 that it will investigate the economic impact and operation of USMCA automotive rules of origin, with a final report to be delivered in June 2023.
On August 4, Canada also announced it will enter USMCA dispute settlement over the long-standing battle between the United States and Canada over softwood lumber.
Contact: Steve Ziehm
- In its August 1 annual report, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) announced it processed a record number of filings and disclosures in its first full year of expanded jurisdiction over certain non-controlling investments. Chinese investments are the committee’s current major focus.
- G7 foreign ministers issued a joint statement on energy security August 3 committing to “act in solidarity and close coordination to mitigate the impact of [Russian energy] supply disruptions” and said they will explore a global price cap on Russian energy products.
- The U.S. Senate voted on August 4 to approve Finland and Sweden joining NATO. Only Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) voted against the treaty document.
- The United States on August 2 announced additional sanctions against Russia, including Treasury and State actions against oligarchs and companies and expansions to Commerce’s restricted aircraft list.
- USTR closed on August 5 a public consultation on development of a Trade Strategy to Combat Forced Labor to be published in the coming months.
- The monthly U.S. trade deficit decreased 6.2% in June, partially due to a $4.7 billion increase in industrial supply exports and a $2.7 billion decrease in automotive imports.
NOTICES, BILLS & HEARINGS
Federal Register Notices
- U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, Public Hearing, August 4
- U.S. Trade Representative, U.S.-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership, August 5
- H.R.8652 (Steube, R-FL) Would prohibit purchases of U.S. located public or private real estate by foreign adversaries.
- H.R.8636 (Banks, R-IN) Would prevent U.S. contributions to the development of dual-use technology in China.
- H.R.8631 (Steel, R-CA) Would provide for the loan and lease of defense articles to the Government of Taiwan.
- H.R.8568 (Lieu, D-CA) Would designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
- S.4760 (Stabenow, D-MI) Would make the Commodity Futures Trading Commission the primary regulator for the digital commodity market.
- S.4746 (Scott, R-SC) Would repeal the sunset provision of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996.
- S.4741 (Shaheen, D-NH) Would encourage increased trade and investment between the U.S. and the countries in the Western Balkans.
- S.4731 (Risch, R-ID) Responds to the looming global food crisis precipitated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
- S.4714 (Rubio, R-FL) Would amend the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 to impose additional sanctions relating to human rights abuses.
- S.4650 (Kennedy, R-LA) Would establish the position of Special Envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum.
- Shani Spivak, NSC Director for Emerging Technology and Secure Digital Innovation
- Kathleen FitzGibbon, Ambassador to Niger
- Eric Kneedler, Ambassador to Rwanda
- Elizabeth Rood, Ambassador to Turkmenistan
- Bijan Sabet, Ambassador to the Czech Republic
- David Crane, Under Secretary of Energy for Infrastructure
- Tim Wu, White House Special Assistant for Technology and Competition Policy
- Mario Hernandez, Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs at the Embassy of Colombia
Want more scoops on personnel moves? Find the most recent Who’s Who here.
- Secretary of State Blinken visits the Philippines, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda, August 6-12
Looking farther ahead? Find the most recent full international events calendar here.