ON OUR DESKS

  • Identifying key embassy officials at Argentina’s and Peru’s embassies in Washington
  • Analyzing latest Russia sanctions developments
  • Mapping key administration food security decision makers

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:

 

  • No Washington International Business Council Meeting the week of May 23.

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

 

Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)

The United States and 12 partner countries announced on May 23 their intent to begin negotiating under the IPEF (Fiji joined May 26). Commerce will lead for the United States on three of IPEF’s four pillars – supply chain resilience; infrastructure, clean energy, and decarbonization; and tax and anti-corruption. USTR will lead on fair and resilient trade, which will cover labor, environment and climate, digital economy, agriculture, transparency and good regulatory practices, competition policy, and trade facilitation. 

It is not clear that all participating countries will negotiate or make commitments under all pillars, nor what commitments might eventually be included. IPEF is not a trade agreement in the traditional sense, and it will likely not require Congressional approval nor necessarily bind future administrations. USTR Tai reiterated in remarks to the press on May 23 the U.S. position that “there is no tariff liberalization incorporated into the scope” of its plans for engaging in IPEF.

(Contact: Scott Seaman)

 

Ukraine/Russia

In a May 23 address to the World Economic Forum, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy urged “maximum sanctions” against Russia. The EU is moving to stiffen penalties for violating existing sanctions, and leaders will meet May 30 for a summit to consider additional aid and sanctions. European Council President Charles Michel has told journalists he is “confident” the bloc will overcome objections to a ban on Russian oil by then. Despite indications of potential funding in exchange for his support, Hungarian President Viktor Orban continues to insist publicly that he will veto any such measures.

In remarks May 24, EU Commission President Von der Leyen argued that Russia’s invasion demonstrates the need to accelerate the transition to green energy and accused Russia of deliberately inciting global food shortages by blockading Ukrainian exports.

(Contact: Pat Sheehy)

 

China

Secretary of State Antony Blinken laid out on May 26 the U.S. approach to counter China, which he said “has become more repressive at home and more aggressive abroad.” The United States will invest in a “modern industrial strategy,” boost cooperation with allies and partners, and enhance U.S. competitiveness by promoting and protecting innovation and pushing to create a level playing field. Blinken also called for increased collaboration on COVID-19 and highlighted plans to create “a department-wide integrated team” within the State Department – a “China House” – to coordinate and implement policy across issues and regions.

Blinken’s hard-nosed remarks come at a time when Communist Party leader Xi Jinping is likely looking to avoid major tensions before securing his third term in the fall. Xi is reportedly quietly pursuing a near-term summit with Biden in hopes of putting the bilateral relationship on more even footing. But even if U.S.-China relations improve, Xi is facing domestic concerns about the strength and trajectory of China’s economy and energy security.

(Contact: Scott Seaman)

 

Export controls

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced three initiatives which will shift the enforcement of export controls, the control of key technologies, and coordination with allies on export controls.

On May 16, Assistant Secretary Matthew Axelrod remarked that BIS intends to pursue reforms that will result in greater public visibility for firms charged with civil violations, higher fines, and changes to the handling of settlements. BIS also issued rulemaking in the Federal Register that proposes a new approach to the handling of “emerging and foundational” technologies, mandated by the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA). BIS will now refer to both emerging and foundational items under a single label “Section 1758 technologies.” Finally, Under Secretary for Industry and Security Alan Estevez stated at an Atlantic Center event on May 25 that the end goal of current export controls efforts is the creation of a new multilateral regime between the United States, EU, and likeminded allies such as Japan, Korea, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

(Contact: Pat Sheehy)

 

Quick takes

  • The International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) has requested comments by September 30 on a draft sustainability disclosure taxonomy. The taxonomy will enable digital consumption of disclosures prepared using the International Sustainability Standards Board’s (ISSB) IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards, which the ISSB plans to issue this year.
  • A bipartisan group of 54 House members sent a letter urging congressional leaders to increase the amount of goods GSP beneficiaries can export by attaching the Competitive Needs Limits (CNL) Update Act (H.R. 6171) to the China bill.
  • Quadrilateral Security Dialogue’ (QSD) members, including the United States, Australia, Japan, and India agreed as part of a joint statement on May 24 to extend US$50 billion towards infrastructure assistance in the Indo-Pacific over the next five years and deepen collaboration in areas of digital connectivity, clean energy, and climate resilience.
  • Mexican President Lopez Obrador is reconsidering his previous stance on skipping the Summit of the Americas, while Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro officially confirmed that he will attend the Summit and meet with President Biden. Relatedly, in advance of the summit and its focus on climate change, President Bolsonaro signed a decree that would create a national carbon market in Brazil.
  • G7 energy and climate ministers reportedly agreed this week to significantly reduce the use of coal and other fossil fuels in electricity production, though they declined to set an end date for a complete phaseout, apparently due in large part to resistance from the United States and Japan. On a related note, the World Bank issued a report on May 24 that found global carbon pricing revenue in 2021 increased by almost 60% from 2020 levels, to about $4 billion.

NOTICES, BILLS & HEARINGS

Federal Register Notices

Legislation

House

  • H.R.7875 (Sherman, D-CA) To provide for the expedited and duty-free importation of infant formula that may be lawfully marketed in the European Union, Canada, Japan, or the United Kingdom.
  • H.Con.Res.92 (Walorski, R-IN) Declaring a state of emergency due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in order to establish a waiver of the minimum tonnage requirements of section 55305 of title 46, United States Code.
  • H.R.7855 (Stefanik, R-NY) To prohibit Federal funding for institutions of higher education that have agreements with certain academic institutions in China and Russia.
  • H.R.7854 (Soto, D-FL) Would adjust the status of certain aliens who are nationals of Venezuela to that of aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence.

Senate

  • S.4313 (Cotton, R-AR) Would prohibit the use of the digital currency payment system operated by China.
  • S.4305 (Scott, R-FL) Would limit the authority of the World Health Organization in the United States and to oppose amendments to the WHO Constitution that have not been approved by Congress.
  • S.4283 (Daines, R-MT) Would authorize the confiscation of Russian assets and the use of such assets to offset Ukraine assistance costs.
  • S.4261 (Lee, R-UT) Would suspend duties and other restrictions on the importation of infant formula.
  • S.Res.646 (Risch, R-ID) A resolution supporting Finland and Sweden’s accession into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

WHO’S WHO

Arrivals

  • Barbara Leaf, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
  • Iranga Kahangama, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Cyber, Infrastructure, Risk, and Resilience
  • Paul Rosen, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Investment Security
  • Stephanie Lynne Hallett, NSC Senior Director for Middle East and North Africa
  • Stephen Lyons, Port and Supply Chain Envoy

Nominations

  • Gautam Rana, Ambassador to Slovakia
  • Joey Hood, Ambassador to Tunisia
  • Mark Libby, Ambassador to Azerbaijan
  • Milancy Harris, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Security & Intelligence

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


UPCOMING EVENTS

  • ILO International Labor Conference (Geneva), May 27 – June 11
  • Colombia presidential elections, May 29
  • EU Special Summit on Ukraine, May 30
  • House and Senate in recess, May 30 – June 3
  • UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2022 (New York/Virtual), June 1-2
  • EU Foreign Affairs Council – Trade (Brussels), June 2
  • UN Stockholm+50 International Environmental Meeting (Stockholm), June 2-3
  • EU Transport, Telecommunications & Energy Council (Luxembourg), June 2-3
  • Joint meeting of the Executive Boards of UNDP/UNFPA/ UNOPS, UNICEF, WFP and UN Women (New York), June 3

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