Policy Briefs

A new report from the House Select Committee on China found that US financial institutions have facilitated investment of more than $6.5 billion to 63 Chinese companies that the US government has red-flagged or blacklisted for advancing Beijing’s military capabilities or supporting its human rights abuses.

The USTR has requested a Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) panel under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to resolve a labor dispute at call center operator Atento Servicios, S.A. de C.V. .    At the conclusion of its 45-day review period, Mexico found a denial of rights had existed, but determined that Atento Servicios had taken the necessary actions to remediate the denial of rights during Mexico’s review period. The United States disagrees with this determination and is requesting establishment of an RRM panel to review the situation.

Airline industry and labor groups are calling for restrictions on Chinese Airline flights to the US, citing unfair competition. The groups have asked for a "pause" to additional passenger flights between the United States and China "until U.S. workers and businesses are guaranteed equality of access in the marketplace, free from the existing harmful anti-competitive policies of the Chinese government. "

The U.S. and UK Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will see them work together to develop tests for the most advanced AI models, following through on commitments made at the AI Safety Summit last November.   Signed by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and UK Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan, the partnership will see both countries working to align their scientific approaches and working closely to accelerate and rapidly iterate robust suites of evaluations for AI models, systems, and agents.

The leaders of the House Select Committee on China are warning that a Chinese military company, BGI, is attempting to set up a new firm, Innomics, in Massachusetts and Kentucky, to avoid US regulatory scrutiny. In a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Committee Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc) and ranking Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi (Ill) urged the Pentagon to label Chinese companies that aid the Chinese Communist Party in military biotech research as “Chinese Military Companies.”

The EU and the United States held the sixth meeting of the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC) in Leuven, Belgium.  Building on prior gatherings, the ministerial continued to polish areas of common interest, while softpedaling longstanding areas of disagreement. Responding to a question about the effectiveness of the TTC, Ms. Raimondo pushed back: “Look at where the US and the EU were three years ago with respect to our collaboration on issues of technology and trade. It's it's nearly night and day."

United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai today released the 2024 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE Report), which provides a comprehensive review of significant foreign barriers to U.S. exports of goods and services, U.S. foreign direct investment, and U.S. electronic commerce in key export markets for the United States. Some controversy arose as the list of offending countries has been pared. “The NTE Report has received unprecedented attention this year because we are taking steps to return it to its stated statutory purpose," said Ambassador Tai in explaining the changes.

Speaker Mike Johnson  named Michigan representative John Molnar to take over the Chairmanship of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party being vacated by Rep. Mike Gallagher(R-WI). The Midland Michigan lawmaker can be expected to continue Mr. Gallagher's efforts to cultivate bipartisan consensus on commercial relations with our greatest adversary.

The U.S. Department of State will partner with the Government of Mexico to explore opportunities to grow and diversify the global semiconductor ecosystem under the International Technology Security and Innovation (ITSI) Fund, created by the CHIPS Act of 2022.   The initial phase includes a comprehensive assessment of Mexico’s existing semiconductor ecosystem and regulatory framework, as well as workforce and infrastructure needs.  Key stakeholders in the Mexican ecosystem, such as state governments, educational institutions, research centers and companies will participate in this analysis in conjunction with Mexico’s Secretariat of Economy.  

For the first time in history, the Chiefs of Navy for the AUKUS countries will convene at a public forum during the Indian Ocean Defense & Security Show (IODS) in Perth, scheduled from July 24 - 26, 2024. This forum will focus on discussions regarding AUKUS Pillars 1 & 2, including but not limited to the Nuclear Submarine program. Moreover, it will serve as a platform for AUKUS experts to delve into the opportunities emerging as these nations progress.

The House passed H.R. 6602, a technical amendment to the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 sponsored by Rep. Rich McCormick (R-GA). This bill revises the interagency dispute resolution process for export license applications.

In a recent development that could strain U.S.-European Union (EU) relations further, the U.S. has cautioned the EU against reopening a World Trade Organization (WTO) case related to steel and aluminum tariffs imposed during the Trump administration. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, in closed-door remarks at a G-7 meeting last month, hinted at significant repercussions for the EU's efforts to reform a crucial aspect of multilateral trade cooperation.

As the federal government approaches the halfway point in FY 2024 without congressional budget approval, the White House has introduced the spending plan for FY 2025. The Commerce Department is asking for additional funds for Artificial Intelligence and Export Control Enforcement.

President Biden voiced his opposition to Nippon Steel acquiring US Steel.  Labor cheered; the Chamber of Commerce jeered. "U.S. Steel has been an iconic American steel company for more than a century, and it is vital for it to remain an American steel company that is domestically owned and operated," said the President.

March 7th, the Justice Department published its revision of the National Security Division Enforcement Policy,   This Enforcement Policy sets forth the criteria that NSD, in partnership with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and other Department litigating components, uses in determining an appropriate resolution for organizations that make a voluntary self-disclosure in export control and sanctions matters.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced a new whistleblower program during her Keynote Remarks at the American Bar Association’s 39th National Institute on White Collar Crime Other Speakers at the event included Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri and Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen [Prepared Remarks ]

The House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced two bipartisan pieces of legislation today to protect Americans’ data and national security against foreign adversaries. Both bills were advanced to the House Floor with unanimous support. 

House Republican leaders have sent a letter to Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries (ZPMC), the dominant supplier of port cargo cranes, demanding answers regarding findings of the Committees’ joint investigation into the operation of ZPMC-manufactured cranes at U.S. ports.  The letter details concerns related to cellular modems discovered on ship-to-shore (STS) crane components at a U.S. seaport and a cellular modem discovered in another U.S. seaport’s server room that houses STS cranes’ firewall and networking equipment.

President Biden issued an Executive Order intending to prevent the large scale transfer of Americans’ personal data to “countries of concern,” including Russia and China.  The Executive Order targets personal and sensitive information, including genomic data, biometric data, personal health data, geolocation data, financial data, and certain kinds of personally identifiable information.

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs “the Bureau” is accepting membership applications for the Defense Trade Advisory Group (DTAG). The Bureau is interested in applications from subject matter experts from the United States defense industry, relevant trade and labor associations, and academic and foundation personnel.

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