Many developing countries, including the Africa Group and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group, yesterday rejected the proposal on “responsible consensus” floated by Singapore and several countries at the World Trade Organization, said people familiar with the developments. The United States seemingly adopted an ambivalent position on “consensus”-based decision-making, saying “consensus” is essential. It added that members have the option to block decisions that conflict with vital national interests, said people who took part in the meeting.

The US Trade Representative announced Wednesday that after review of a petition filed by five national labor unions, USTR is initiating an investigation of acts, policies, and practices of  China  targeting the maritime, logistics, and shipbuilding sectors for dominance. Last month five national labor unions filed a petition requesting an investigation into the acts, policies, and practices of the PRC targeting the maritime, logistics, and shipbuilding sectors for dominance.

Wednesday Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), introduced bipartisan legislation to bolster the Export Enforcement Coordination Center—an interagency hub for information sharing and coordination among the key agencies responsible for export control enforcement. At a hearing Thursday, officials from Commerce, Justice and Homeland Security were unanimous in their call for resources from Congress.

OFAC is amending and reissuing the Global Magnitsky Sanctions Regulations (31 CFR part 583) as a more comprehensive set of regulations that includes additional interpretive guidance and definitions, general licenses, and other regulatory provisions that will provide further guidance to the public. Further, OFAC is adding the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020, as amended to the authority citation of 31 CFR part 583. Due to the number of regulatory sections being updated or added, OFAC is reissuing the Regulations in their entirety.

ASML, a Dutch semiconductor producer, had its license to ship two types of machines that make semiconductors partially revoked. This comes after ASML canceled some of its shipments ahead of tightening Dutch restrictions on exports. "China opposes the US’s overstretching the national security concept and using all sorts of pretexts to coerce other countries into joining its technological blockade against China," said Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin.  

In a wide ranging conversation at Georgetown University, Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security Alan Estevez shared his perspective on the evolution of export controls and the road ahead. "I believe now that we are at sort of a foundational inflection point as to the role and purpose of export controls," Estevez said. " Commerce is in the middle of national security in a number of spheres these days.

"We do it from two perspectives. We do it from offense and we do it from defense. Offense is things like Chips Act. So how are we going to build chip production in the United States, where we have assured supply? Semiconductors are the foundation of a lot of what goes on in our economy. "The core of the defense structure is our export controls. Protecting the technology that our adversaries could use against us, should it ever come to any kind of kinetic action...

A report by the House Foreign Affairs Committee highlights shortcomings in the U.S. export control system and calls for reforms, legislative and administrative.   Drawing extensively on the work of former Defense Department Export Control Official Stephen Coonen, the report offers a preview of the reception BIS officials can expect in next week's hearing. "Both the Trump and Biden administrations, principally from the White House, have rightly begun exerting more control over the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). However, no administration will be able to fully leverage the power of export controls to protect U.S. national security without Congressional action. Now, Congress must solidify the efforts of successive administrations so our future will be better secured," the authors assert. Central to the committee's findings is the concern that BIS, under the Commerce Department, has been too lenient in granting licenses for dual-use technology transfers to China, failing to adequately consider the likelihood of military or surveillance use.

Defense Chiefs of the AUKUS military-industrial alliance met at the Defense Innovation Unit Headquarters at Moffett Field in  California to discuss progress for the partnership, especially Pillar II, the broad based defense industrial collaboration. The three nations are also establishing an AUKUS Industry Forum with trilateral government and industry representatives to help inform policy, technical and commercial frameworks to facilitate the development and delivery of advanced capabilities. The initial meeting of that forum will occur in the first half of 2024.  In a Joint Statement, the Secretaries and Deputy Prime Minister reaffirmed the three nations' commitment to maximize the strategic and technological advantage of AUKUS .  They agreed that advancing AUKUS requires continued commitment to streamlining defense trade controls and information-sharing while minimizing policy and financial barriers across public and private sectors.

Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration Thea Kendler held a briefing November 6 to discuss the rules issued October 17th. She explained the new parameters, associated license requirements, the new notified advanced computing license exception, and some of the measures put into place to address possible circumvention of the controls.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of State has released a redacted report detailing its review of end-use monitoring (EUM) for U.S. security assistance in Ukraine. This follows the U.S. commitment of approximately $30 billion in aid since Russia's invasion in February 2022. Findings indicate that Embassy Kyiv conducted limited in-person EUM activities, supplemented by secondary procedures involving Ukrainian government assistance. No misuse of equipment was identified, and commitments from recipients remained unchanged post-invasion. However, challenges like security restrictions and ad-hoc reporting of battlefield losses were noted.

Artificial intelligence, or AI, has been heralded as a way to disrupt the workforce–to the chagrin of many human workers. Tesla CEO Elon Musk was hopeful about the future of AI in a meeting this week with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Four individuals were arrested, and an indictment and criminal complaint were unsealed this week regarding two separate conspiracies to unlawfully export controlled, dual-use technologies to Russia. October 31, a criminal complaint was unsealed, and a Brooklyn, New York, resident and two Canadian nationals were arrested in connection with a global procurement scheme in which the defendants used two corporate entities registered in Brooklyn to unlawfully source and purchase dual-use electronics on behalf of end-users in Russia, including companies affiliated with the Russian military. Separately, a Brooklyn resident was arrested, and a four-count indictment was unsealed alleging an illegal exports scheme to procure dual-use electronic components for entities in Russia involved in the development and manufacture of drones for the Russian war effort in Ukraine.

On Tuesday 17 October, the Commerce Department tightened controls over exports of AI-specific semiconductors. This move makes it more challenging for U.S. firms like Nvidia and Intel to market their current products in China or to launch new products as workarounds. Addressing oversights: This step is designed to mend potential oversights in the export regulations declared last year. Those regulations had been met with notable resistance from the international semiconductor sector and increased strains with Beijing.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced a "Department-wide Safe Harbor Policy" for voluntary self-disclosures of misconduct by acquirers in the mergers and acquisition process.  

The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has published new best practice guidance for industry to help prevent items that are considered the most significant to Russian weaponry requirements from being diverted for use in Russia’s war against Ukraine. The. Septermber 28 guidance recommends that exporters and reexporters of these highest priority items seek written assurances of compliance from their customers to help prevent diversion.

Members of the House Ways and Means Committee are united in their desire to renew the expired Generalized System of Preferences program, but differences over reforms continue to stand in the way of action. Ranking Democrat Earl Blumenauer (Ore) called for action on GSP reform and renewal legislation proposed by Democrats in the previous Congress, saying that since there is strong bipartisan report for renewal, the committee should report out that measure. But Trade Subcommittee Chair. Adrian Smith (R-Neb) indicated that he sees some language in that bill as being ambiguous and hard to enforce and includes standards for beneficiary countries that go beyond what is required in the US- Mexico-Canada Agreement. He expressed hope that with “open minds” members can come together on a GSP/MTB package.

The Senate returned last weekj from the August Congressional break with a packed agenda that will leave little time for action on pending trade legislation like countering China’s unfair trade practices or renewal of the expired Generalized System of Preferences program. Both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R- Calif) started the year with hopes of putting together a major China trade bill.

World Trade Organization Doha fisheries subsidies negotiations Chair Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson of Iceland has issued a draft text on the “disciplines on subsidies contributing to overcapacity and overfishing” pillar for upcoming negotiations in the fall, WTD has learned. The five-page restricted room document (RD/TN/RL/174) issued on Monday and seen by our correspondent, appears to contain asymmetries in the provision of carveouts to big subsidizers who contributed to the problem of global depletion of fish stocks on the one side, and special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries on the other, said people familiar with the text.

After complaining since at least 2005 that "we really need to do something about ITAR. It is really hurting U.S. industry,” and citing export controls for not hiring eligible non-citizens, South African immigrant Elon Musk's company SpaceX has been sued by the Justice Department for employment discrimination. The United States Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) for discriminating against asylees and refugees in its hiring process. The lawsuit contends that from September 2018 to May 2022, SpaceX deliberately discouraged such individuals from applying for positions within the company, violating the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Chinese printer manufacture Ninestar, parent of Lexmark International, has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other related parties of the U.S. government before the U.S. Court of International Trade. DHS added Ninestar and certain of its subsidiaries to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) Entity List, and the company "is suffering irreparable harm to its business and reputation based on the listing," according to a statement.

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