Policy Briefs

House Ways and Means Committee members are calling on the Administration and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to fight Canada’s unilateral imposition of a digital service tax. The members noted that almost all 140 economies participating in the OECD work to reach agreement on updated international tax rules approved a one-year extension of the moratorium on DSTs through December 31, 2024. “We are disappointed that Canada is unfortunately moving against this global consensus with a punitive DST scheduled to take effect next year.”

Reacting to news reports of espionage activities linked to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on American soil, Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA), along with other members of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, have called for an urgent classified briefing from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

In a stern letter, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) warned Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that regulations must be immediately issued to prevent taxpayer funded subsidies for electric vehicles and batteries in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) from flowing to adversarial nations such as China.

House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc) and Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Mich) are calling on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to withhold any federal support for Chinese battery companies in the United States.    The lawmakers – in a letter to Ms. Yellen – specifically scrutinized Treasury for greenlighting new plans for a Michigan battery factory owned and operated by China based Gotion High-Tech Company.  

President Biden announced yesterday he has tapped former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker for the newly-created position of US Special Representative for Ukraine’s Economic Recovery.  In her new position, Ms. Pritzker will work with the Ukrainian government, US allies and partners, international financial institutions and the private sector to drive US efforts to help rebuild the Ukrainian economy following Russia’s invasion, according to a White House statement.

Congress, through various means, has shown sustained interest in the export policy, emphasizing the balance between maintaining U.S. technological leadership and preventing adversaries from accessing advanced technologies. Christopher Casey of the Congressional Research Service penned a report released September 8 that frames this topic for policymakers and practicioners alike.

Gerry Horner, Chief of the Trade Regulations Branch at the US Census Bureau, gave the committee an update on two Notices of Proposed Rulemaking: the Routed Export Transaction rule, published prior to 2019, and the Country of Origin data element, released in December 2021.

A group of Congressional Democrats are raising questions with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo over her department’s failure to release data on its approvals of assault weapons exports. …

Huawei's release of a phone called the Mate 60 Pro has the industrial security community atwitter, if we can still use that word.   The device boasts a processor fabricated at seven nanometers, a threshold of precision the allied export controls of chipmaking equipment were meant to thwart.   

Representatives Gregory Meeks, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Andy Barr (R-KY), Vice Chair of the House India Caucus,introduced legislation to loosen export restrictions of high-performance computing equipment to India.

The House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party will hold a hearing on September 12th at 8:30 a.m., at Peterson Hall at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, NY. The committee is also expected to host a tabletop war game for Wall Street executives to illustrate a PRC invation of Taiwan.   

The recently unveiled United States Strategy on Countering Corruption delineates an ambitious approach to address corruption through a series of well-defined measures. This initiative, detailed under five distinct pillars, seeks to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of existing government frameworks, both within and outside U.S borders. To curb corruption and its deleterious effects, the U.S. Government will organize its efforts around five mutually reinforcing pillars of work: 1.  Modernizing, coordinating, and resourcing U.S. Government efforts to fight corruption;  2. Curbing illicit finance; 3. Holding corrupt actors accountable; 4. Preserving and strengthening the multilateral anti-corruption architecture; and, 5. Improving diplomatic engagement and leveraging foreign assistance resources to advance policy goals.

  Based on a BIS review of the existing Section 232 exclusion process for areas of improvement and public comments on the current process for submissions to BIS, BIS is publishing this proposed rule to propose revisions to the Section 232 exclusions process, including to the Section 232 Exclusions Portal. The proposed rule to amend the Section 232 exclusions process comprises four salient modifications designed to refine efficiency, fairness, and transparency.

While staffers from the other China Committee recover from their CoDel to New Guniea, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission will hold a hearing Monday, August 21, on "China's Current Economy: Implications for Investors and Supply Chains" starting at 9:30 a.m. ET. Agenda indicates the first two hours will address China's Economy, with the trade discussion beginning at 11:20 AM.  Livestream on the commission's web page.

Despite its emphasis on control of emerging technologies and climate resilience, the Administration's National Intelligence Strategy makes no mention of the role of the Commerce Department in its formulation or execution. Director of National Intelligence Avril D. Haines last week released the 2023 National Intelligence Strategy (NIS), which provides strategic direction for the Intelligence Community (IC) over the next four years, calling for redoubled efforts in economic statecraft, industrial actions and climate analysis. “The NIS is a foundational document for the IC and reflects the input of leaders from each of the 18 intelligence elements, as it directs the operations, investments, and priorities of the collective,” said Ms. Haines.    No Commerce Department elements are included in the definition of “Intelligence Community,” according to the report.

The government’s Trade Advisory Committees are unfairly skewed toward big business, giving short shrift to labor and environmental concerns, according to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash). “Allowing corporate interests to continue to dominate the trade advisory committee system clearly harms workers, consumers, and small businesses, the lawmakers wrote in a letter to US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.

A bad penny always turns up.  Odebrecht S.A, the perennial source of corruption settlements under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) delivered again, snaring a banking subsidiary of Grupo Aval, the holding company of the second richest man in Colombia. Corporación Financiera Colombiana S.A. (Corficolombiana), a Colombian financial services institution, has agreed to pay over $80 million to resolve parallel bribery investigations by criminal, civil, and administrative authorities in the United States and Colombia stemming from the company’s involvement in a scheme to pay millions of dollars in bribes to high-ranking government officials in Colombia. 

Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party continued his quest with a letter calling for the Federal Communications Commisssion to answer questions about the role of the Chinese in the market for "Cellular IoT Modules," the radio devices which connect industrial equipment and home appliances to each other and central stations through the internet. Later in the week, Mr. Gallagher led a fact-finding mission to Australia to deliver a speech on "United States and Australia's rich history united by freedom, security imperatives, economic interests, and common values," according to a statement.

In remarks last week in Lexington, Kentucky,  Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson spoke to common concerns about the implementation of the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) which requires certain U.S. and foreign companies to report to FinCEN information about their beneficial owners: "FinCEN is working around the clock to stand up this program in a way that allows you to understand your obligations, provides you the resources to meet them, and ensures the smallest possible burden on you.

 While Congress takes a Summer recess, Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and his Congressional Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party continue to badger communists and their supporters at every turn, from coastal investment elites to row crop farmers in Iowa. Thursday, Mr. Gallagher, Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), and Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA), hosted a roundtable event in Dysart, Iowa to highlight the Chinese Communist Party's agricultural technology theft.   

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