ON OUR DESKS

  • Advised on status and trajectory of U.S. and EU sanctions and export controls against Russia and Belarus (Pat Sheehy) and legislative developments (Chris Benscher).
  • Attended and reported on DHS hearing on implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Act.

ICYMI: IBC has launched a new website, including a client portal where you can find information on upcoming WIBC discussions (for WIBC members only), past issues of the International Issues Update, and other resources. You should have received an email with the client portal password. Contact Christina for assistance.

How can we help you? Email any time or consult our issues list to find the expert you’re looking for.


WIBC DISCUSSIONS

In case you missed it:

  • Asia-Pacific Economic Agenda with U.S. Senior Official for APEC and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matt Murray (Contact: Scott Seaman)

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

Russia sanctions: 

The EU approved on April 8 its fifth package of Russia/Ukraine sanctions. The package includes a phased-in import ban on coal from Russia, new bank sanctions, transportation restrictions, further export and import controls, and restrictions on Russian involvement in EU procurement. 

The United States issued new restrictions on April 6 via an executive order prohibiting new investment in the Russian Federation, blocking sanctions on Sberbank and Alfa Bank, sanctions on Russian  state owned enterprises, and further individual sanctions. The G7 Group of countries announced similar measures on April 7.

Congressional action further supported increased sanctions and export controls against Russia and Belarus, including full passage of bills suspending normal trade relations and suspending energy imports. Senators Wyden (D-OR) and Portman (R-OH) introduced draft legislation that would strip U.S. tax breaks from companies that continue doing business in Russia and Belarus, among other actions. 

In a show of global support for Ukraine, the UN General Assembly voted on April 7 to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council (93 votes in favor, 24 against, with 58 abstentions), where Russia was in the second year of a three-year term. Russia subsequently quit the Council, precluding any reinstatement that might otherwise have been theoretically possible.

(Contact: Pat Sheehy)

Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)

Senior administration officials revealed limited updates on the IPEF during an April 5-6 conference hosted by CSIS and the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council. National Security Council Coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell highlighted regional opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the desire in many Asian countries to ensure China sees the war as a cautionary tale. 

Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi said digital trade will be a near-term priority for IPEF’s trade pillar and that the United States is prepared to provide technical assistance and other incentives to IPEF partners.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Asia Pamela Phan (standing in for Secretary Raimondo who was one of several senior administration and Congressional officials to test positive for COVID-19 this week) said the delayed U.S.-ASEAN Summit could be an opportunity to formally launch IPEF. 

USTR and Commerce are accepting public comments on IPEF until April 11. 

(Contact: Scott Seaman)

U.S.-India relations

National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said April 6 that the United States has warned India against aligning itself with Russia. New Delhi has thus far declined to criticize or sanction Russia for invading Ukraine and has continued to buy Russian oil. Nevertheless, the need for India and the United States to cooperate on regional issues, including competition with China, will continue to motivate Washington and New Delhi to deepen bilateral relations. 

Ukraine and U.S.-India bilateral relations will be on the agenda when Secretary of State Blinken and Secretary of Defense Austin meet Indian counterparts on April 11 at a U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue

(Contact: Scott Seaman)

Climate

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued on April 4 its third report (of four), arguing that global greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 and then fall by 43% before 2030, compared with 2019 levels, to keep warming below 1.5°C. The report comes amid increasing energy pressures, for example with China reprioritizing coal and European countries facing energy consequences in the context of the Russian war in Ukraine (e.g., Germany moving to ramp up renewable energy).

(Contact: Scott Seaman)

Quick takes


NOTICES, BILLS & HEARINGS

Federal Register Notices

Legislation

House 

  • H.R.7429 (Sherman, D-CA) Sanctioning the use of cryptocurrency to evade sanctions on Russia
  • H.Res.1040 (Levin, D-MI) Commending companies that have suspended operations in Russia and supporting citizens who choose to boycott companies still operating in Russia
  • H.R.7400 (Craig, D-MN) Directing HHS to pilot preferential treatment under Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP U.S.-made pharmaceuticals
  • H.R.7372 (Tutis, D-NV) Requiring the President to establish a semiconductor supply chain working group in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Senate

  • S.4001 (Ernst, R-IA) To suspend participation of the Russian Federation in certain international organizations.

Hearings

No hearings – Congress is in recess until April 22


WHO’S WHO

Arrivals

  • Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, U.S. Supreme Court
  • Coti-Lynne Haia, Chief of Staff, Office of Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
  • Jacob “Jake” Hinch, Legislative Director, Office of Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)

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


UPCOMING EVENTS

  • April 9 – EU and Canada host  high level humanitarian pledging conference (Warsaw)
  • April 10 – First round of voting in the French presidential election

Looking farther ahead? Find our international calendar here.