ON OUR DESKS

  • Providing briefing materials for client meeting with Japanese Diet (parliament) member.
  • Coordinating on U.S. Government response to foreign exports bans on commodities. 
  • Attending Latin America-focused meetings and preparing summaries of the discussion.

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:

  • Congressional climate change agenda with Senate Finance Committee Senior Policy Advisor Robert Andres (Contact: Chris Benscher)

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 developments 

On April 28, President Biden requested Congress fund $33 billion in support to Ukraine, including for arms, humanitarian aid, sanctions enforcement, and U.S. domestic food production assistance. The package also includes provisions that would streamline asset seizures, enhance enforcement against sanctions evasion, and extend the statute of limitations for sanctions violations from five to ten years. 

Other key developments include final passage of the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act (S3522) and bipartisan passage in the House of bills relating to use of seized Russian assets to aid Ukrainian refugees (H.R. 6930), religious freedom in Ukraine (H.R. 469), and reporting China’s support of Russia (H.R. 7314). 

(Contact: Pat Sheehy, Chris Benscher)

Global sustainability disclosure standards

A new working group announced April 27 by the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) will explore compatibility of ISSB standards with similar disclosure standards being developed by country governments. Working group members include the ISSB, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Chinese Ministry of Finance, European Commission, European Financial Reporting Advisory Group, Japanese Financial Services Agency, Sustainability Standards Board of Japan Preparation Committee, and United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority. 

The working group will focus in large part on ISSB’s draft general sustainability-related disclosure requirements and climate-related disclosure requirements, which are open for public comment until July 29. Recordings and presentations from April 28 webinars on the two drafts are available on the ISSB website.

(Contact: Scott Seaman)

Digital trade

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced on April 27 the launch of a new blended finance program to mobilize private capital for digital finance and internet service providers focused on traditionally excluded consumer populations worldwide. Digital Invest will balance Chinese financial and technological assistance in this space. The program will also support U.S. efforts to encourage Southeast Asian countries to make digital trade commitments in the context of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) expected to be rolled out later this year.

(Contact: Ethan Knecht, Scott Seaman)

Digital governance

The United States and 60 global partners issued on April 28 a declaration in support of an “open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, and secure” internet, a move U.S. officials said is not targeted at any specific country but rather seeks to counter “digital authoritarianism.” Digital governance and censorship are the subject of an ongoing U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) investigation and are expected to be addressed in the IPEF. 

(Contact: Scott Seaman)

U.S. engagement with Latin America 

Bilateral dialogues and Summit of the Americas preparations saw high-level engagement by administration officials. Under Secretaries of State Nuland and Fernandez visited Brasilia to lead the first U.S.-Brazil strategic dialogue since 2019, covering security, democracy and governance, and economic growth and prosperity. Under Secretary Fernandez also met with mining company representatives in Sao Paulo to discuss “diversify[ing] critical mineral supply chains and rais[ing] global standards.” 

In Washington, Under Secretary of State Zeya and USAID Administrator Power hosted the first U.S.-Honduras strategic dialogue, where U.S. representatives “outlined plans to help Honduras unlock its economic potential and generate inclusive job growth” and “discussed efforts to launch a new internationally-backed anti-corruption commission.” 

Secretary of State Blinken’s April 26 call with Canadian Foreign Minister Joly included and President Biden’s upcoming virtual meeting with Mexican President Lopez Obrador will likely include discussion of North American priorities for the June Summit of the Americas and North American leadership in the region. President Lopez Obrador has announced he will attend the Summit, though the White House has not yet formally issued invitations.

(Contact: Ethan Knecht)

Quick takes

  • During a May 20-24 visit to South Korea and Japan, President Biden will meet President Yoon Suk Yeol and Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and attend a Quad leaders summit (United States, Japan, India, Australia).
  • USTR’s annual Special 301 Report on intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement removed Saudi Arabia from the “priority watch list” and suspended Ukraine’s annual review. Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, and Venezuela remained on the priority watch list as key countries of concern.
  • Fueling speculation that China’s support for Russia in its war with Ukraine is generating anti-China blowback and likely irking Beijing, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made Japan the destination for his first official visit to Asia.  
  • The UN Convention to Combat Desertification’s (UNCCD) April 27 report argues that “[g]lobally, food systems are responsible for 80% of deforestation, 70% of freshwater use, and are the single greatest cause of terrestrial biodiversity loss.”

NOTICES, BILLS & HEARINGS

Federal Register Notices

Legislation

House 

  • H.Res.1065 (Raskin, D-MD) Providing for consideration of Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022 (S. 3522). 
  • H.R.7596 (Kaptur, D-OH) Use of seized Russian assets to provide support to Ukrainian refugees.
  • H.R.7583 (Jacobs, D-CA) Support International Criminal Investigations for Ukraine Act.
  • H.R.7579 (Green, R-TN) Western Hemisphere Nearshoring Act.

Senate

  •  S.4099 (Scott, R-FL) Expands OFAC Designations of Chinese military-complex companies and prohibits securities investments that finance certain Chinese companies.
  • S.4098 (Barrasso, R-WY) Prohibits Russians and Belarusians from working in Energy Department laboratories.  
  • S.4095 (Scott, R-FL) Requires SEC to require company import source reporting utilizing forced labor from Xinjiang, China.
  • S.4079 (Scott, R-FL) Russia and Belarus SDR Exchange Prohibition Act of 2022.

Hearings

Senate

  • Foreign Relations Committee: State Department Authorization May 3, 10:00 a.m
  • Appropriations Committee: Defense Budget May 3, 10:00 a.m
  • Energy and Natural Resources Committee: Energy Budget May 4, 10:00am
  • Foreign Relations Committee: Nomination Votes on Ambassadors to Norway, Philippines, Korea, and Australia May 4, 10:00am 
  • Foreign Relations Committee: Nomination Hearing to consider nominated Ambassador to the UK, Denmark Malta, and U.S. Rep. to the UN Conference on Disarmament May 4, 2:15pm

WHO’S WHO

Arrivals

  • Arun Venkataraman, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets
  • Kayla Williams, Chief of Staff to Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY)
  • Lorraine Ann Voles, Chief of Staff to the Vice President
  • Rebecca Lissner, Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President 

Nominations

  • Bridget Banks, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine
  • Michael Ratney, U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
  • Geoffrey Pyatt, Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources

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


UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Assistant Secretary of State Kritenbrink visits Cambodia and Laos, May 1-7
  • Asia Development Bank Board of Governors (Colombo, Sri Lanka), May 2-5
  • OECD forum on responsible mineral supply chains (Virtual), May 2-6
  • Central American Integration System (SICA) and the Caribbean Community (Caricom) summit on regional economic reactivation (Panama), May 3
  • UN Economic and Social Council forum on science, technology and innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (New York), May 5-6 

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