ON OUR DESKS

  • Provided information and analysis on President Biden’s trip to Japan and potentially other countries (e.g., South Korea) in late May.
  • Identified key contacts at foreign embassies in DC.
  • Advised on Russia sanctions compliance.

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

In case you missed it:

  • Germany’s G7 priorities and U.S.-Germany relations with the Head of the German Embassy’s Economic Department Hardy Boeckle (Contact: Steve Ziehm)

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

President’s Economic Report 

The White House released the Economic Report of the President to Congress on April 14. Accompanying the President’s report is the Annual Report of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), which includes seven chapters and statistical tables relating to income, employment, trade and production. The CEA report provides an analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, concluding that a shift in global consumption patterns interacted with stressed supply chains to generate inflation in the United States and most major trading partners. A chapter on supply chains asserts that it is important for the federal government to address supply chain fragility, given that disruptions are likely to continue. The CEA also focuses on the clean energy transition, calling for policies to smooth the transition by lessening the risks to U.S. competitiveness in global markets and by supporting vulnerable communities. 

(Contact: Steve Ziehm)

Biden’s Asia trip in May

President Biden plans to travel to Japan in late May for a summit with leaders of the Quad (United States, Japan, Australia, and India). The White House has not yet provided details about the trip, but there is speculation that Biden might first visit South Korea early in the week of May 23 to meet with incoming President Yoon Seok-yeol before traveling on to Tokyo. Yoon has expressed a desire to strengthen relations with the United States and ease bilateral tensions with Japan, and some press have reported that he is interested in South Korea joining the Quad as an observer. The crisis in Ukraine will be a major topic of Quad meetings, though economic cooperation (e.g., on semiconductors and other supply chain issues, plans for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)) will likely also be a key focus of discussions.

(Contact: Scott Seaman)

WHO initiative on NCDs

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on April 12 at the first meeting of the International Strategic Dialogue on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) plans to boost efforts to combat non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, and mental health conditions. The WHO and governments of Ghana and Norway are spearheading this initiative, which will include an “International NCD Compact 2022-2030” and annual meetings of an NCD Presidential Group at the UN General Assembly (UNGA). Heads of state and WHO member state governments can sign on to the NCD Compact and become members of the NCD Presidential Group. UN agencies and non-state actors can express their support as co-sponsors in alignment with the WHO Framework of Engagement with Non-state Actors (FENSA).

(Contact: Scott Seaman)

Russia-Ukraine war update 

President Biden approved $800 million in military assistance to Ukraine after speaking with President Zelenskyy this week. Biden and Zelenskyy agreed on a further expansion of sanctions, according to a tweet by Zelenskyy following the meeting, but no additional information has been forthcoming. The war is increasingly shifting to Ukraine’s south and east, where flatter and more open terrain is expected to allow the invading forces to bring greater force to bear. This most recent aid package is intended to allow the Ukrainian forces to adapt to the expected shifts. The U.S. also continued enforcing existing authorities, with the Commerce Department identifying 10 additional Russian and Belarussian aircraft in likely violation of U.S. export controls. US persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the identified planes. 

The conflict continues to overturn long held European security shibboleths. Finland and Sweden have announced they are considering joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Finland has indicated that it wishes to rapidly explore this possibility, in “weeks not months” according to Prime Minister Sanna Marin. Sweden is expected to take additional time. Further developments are expected by the upcoming NATO Summit in June. 

G7 countries have begun implementing sanctions agreed on last week. On April 11 Canada imposed sanctions on Russian defense entities. Also on April 11, Japan imposed new investment restrictions, bank sanctions, import bans, and individual sanctions. On April 14 Australia imposed sanctions on “state-owned enterprises of strategic and economic importance to Russia.” 

(Contact: Pat Sheehy)

Quick takes

  • In France’s presidential election, both President Emmanuel Macron and leader of the far-right party National Rally, Marine Le Pen, won enough votes to make the runoff to be held on April 24. 
  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen delivered a speech to the Atlantic Council, saying that “going forward, it will be increasingly difficult to separate economic issues from broader considerations of national interest, including national security.” She cited a need to modernize the approach the United States has used to build trade integration, favoring the “friend-shoring” of supply chains to a large number of trusted countries.
  • The White House’s Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) issued its Annual Intellectual Property Report to Congress on April 8, providing an overview of the intellectual property enforcement strategy and related efforts undertaken by departments and agencies during fiscal year 2021.
  • The U.S. Export-Import Bank’s board approved the “Make More in America Initiative”, which will “incentivize applications in environmentally beneficial, small business and transformational export transactions (including semiconductors, biotech and biomedical products, renewable energy, and energy storage).” 
  • The U.S. and Japanese governments have brushed aside speculation that Japan has been asked to join AUKUS, a group formed by Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States to enhance cooperation on advanced defense technologies.
  • Mexico’s Supreme Court narrowly upheld a key provision in President Lopez Obrador’s electricity reform last week, while Ambassador Salazar issued a statement expressing his concern that “the 2021 electricity law is likely to open the door to endless litigation, creating uncertainty and impeding investment.” 
  • The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced 24 new initiatives to protect oceans and address climate change.
  • A group of five U.S. senators and one congressman visited Taiwan this week to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen and other government leaders. Beijing has vigorously objected to the visit and also responded by conducting military drills in the area.
  • The State Department released its Equity Action Plan, which addresses its plans for equity related to U.S. foreign assistance, consular services, and its procurement and contracts.
  • South Korean President-elect Yoon, who will take office on May 10, has completed the selection of his cabinet minister nominees. Earlier this month, Yoon tapped former ambassador to the United States (2009-2012) Han Duck-soo to be his prime minister.
  • At a Brookings event on April 14, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield spoke on the UN’s response to the Ukraine crisis, U.S. priorities, and work to push ahead on reforms for the UN and the international system, including via a Summit for the Future likely to take place at the UNGA in September 2023.

NOTICES, BILLS & HEARINGS

Federal Register Notices

Legislation

House 

  • H.R.7490 (Chabot, R-OH) To direct the President to submit to Congress a report on benefits to the Russian Federation as a result of an agreement with Iran relating to the nuclear program of Iran.
  • H.R.7480 (Perry, R-PA) To amend the Defense Production Act of 1950 to prohibit the use of the authorities under title I and title III of such Act for electric vehicles or related technologies.
  • H.R.7468 (D-IL) To direct the Director of National Intelligence to submit to Congress a report on the effects of increased production and consumption of alternative proteins on the long-term national security interests of the United States.
  • H.R.7437 (Westerman, R-AR) To prohibit the importation of wood and related articles from the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus, and for other purposes.

Senate

  • S.4075 (Whitehouse, D-RI) A bill to prevent money laundering, the financing of terrorism, or other forms of illicit finance through United States real estate and vehicle transactions, including by Russian oligarchs, and for other purposes.
  • S.4073 (Rubio, R-FL) A bill to support the human rights of Uyghurs and members of other ethnic groups residing primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and safeguard their district civilization and identity, and for other purposes.
  • S.4063 (Blackburn, R-TN) A bill to prohibit the President from negotiating or concluding any withdrawal, suspension, waiver, or modification to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights without explicit authorization from Congress.
  • S.4059 (Grassley, R-IA) A bill to require the Secretary of Defense to replace equipment provided to Ukraine by certain member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
  • S.4054 (Marshall, R-KS) A bill to terminate General License No. 8A of the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Department of the Treasury and require the application of sanctions under Executive Order 14024 to the Russian financial institutions listed in General License No. 8A.
  • S.4035 (Hawley, R-MO) Taiwan Weapons Exports Act of 2022.

Hearings

  • Electric Vehicle Batteries/Critical Minerals Supply field hearing April 21, 11:00 a.m.

WHO’S WHO

Arrivals

  • Chris Dodd and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Summit of the Americas Special Advisors
  • Jim O’Brien, Head of the State Department’s Office of Sanctions Coordination
  • Judith Pryor, First Vice President and Vice Chair of Export-Import Bank
  • Lisa Barclay, Deputy Coronavirus Response Coordinator
  • Rebecca Hersman, Director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency

Nominations

  • Michael Barr, Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve for Supervision

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


UPCOMING EVENTS

  • The House and Senate are in recess, April 18-22 
  • Secretary Blinken travels to Panama, April 19-20
  • Conference of the parties to the Escazú Agreement, April 20-22
  • IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings, April 22-25

Looking farther ahead? Find our international calendar here.