Washington Update

August 14th, 2020
By Anna Ashton and Chynna Hawes

Lighthizer and Liu He Phase One meeting delayed

A video-conference meeting between US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Vice Premier Liu He expected to take place Saturday has been postponed to an unknown date. Though China’s Phase One purchase commitments are behind schedule, Lighthizer has repeatedly expressed confidence in China’s commitment to the deal. Signaling greater confidence in China’s progress in meeting purchase commitments,...

August 7th, 2020
By Chynna Hawes

US moves forward with Hong Kong sanctions in response to China’s National Security Law

The Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on 11 Chinese and Hong Kong officials—including Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of Hong Kong, and Xia Baolong, Director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office—for undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy and restricting the rights of Hong Kong citizens. The individuals were added to the Specially Designated...

July 31st, 2020
By Anna Ashton and Chynna Hawes

Pompeo’s testimony foreshadowed Xinjiang sanctions that dropped today

In his testimony on the State Department’s 2021 budget request before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called China the most “central threat of our times.” Pompeo credited the State Department’s “vigorous diplomacy,” detailing a long list of actions toward China. He highlighted US actions to sanction Chinese leaders for human rights abuses in Xinjiang and warned that...

July 24th, 2020
By Chynna Hawes

Tensions rise over Houston, Chengdu consulates

Diplomatic tensions spiked this week after the State Department ordered the Chinese consulate in Houston to close no later than today, citing intellectual property theft concerns. China’s foreign ministry said the demand violates international law and the bilateral consular agreement, and today ordered the US consulate in Chengdu to close, a proportional response suggesting the Chinese government does not want the situation to escalate....

July 17th, 2020
By Anna Ashton and Chynna Hawes

Trump revokes Hong Kong special status and signs Hong Kong Autonomy Act

At a press conference on Tuesday, President Trump signed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which calls for sanctions on Chinese officials and banks involved in the erosion of civil liberties, and announced an executive order including punitive measures in response to China’s new National Security Law. Trump also indicated that more executive orders would be coming, specifically on US capital flows to Chinese military...

July 10th, 2020
By Anna Ashton and Chynna Hawes

USCBC’s Congressional Legislative Tracker monitoring China proposals is now online! 

US sanctions senior Chinese officials over human rights

Yesterday, the departments of Treasury and State announced new sanctions and visa restrictions on senior Chinese government officials and entities involved in human rights violations in Xinjiang. This is the first time the United States has used Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act sanctions against Chinese officials. The...

July 2nd, 2020
By Chynna Hawes

United States moves forward with altering Hong Kong preferential treatment

On Monday, the departments of Commerce and State announced that Hong Kong would no longer be treated as separate from China under US export control regulations, citing the risk that sensitive US defense and dual-use technology could be diverted to China following the imposition of new security measures. The announcements came a day before China passed and immediately implemented a new national security law for...

June 26th, 2020
By Chynna Hawes

Trump under pressure to sanction Chinese officials over Hong Kong, human rights

On Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act (S. 3798) which would impose mandatory sanctions on foreign individuals, entities, and financial institutions that enable the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy by the Chinese government. This comes after the White House had reportedly asked cosponsor Kevin Cramer (R-ND) to block a vote on the act last week in order to propose “technical...

June 19th, 2020
By Chynna Hawes

Domestic politics continue to weigh on US-China relationship and Phase One trade deal

Developments this week underscore the central role China will likely play in the November general election, and point to further deterioration in the bilateral relationship in the near term. Allegations about President Trump’s China policy in a yet-to-be-published book by former National Security Adviser John Bolton overshadowed and what may have been constructive engagement on China, like US Trade...

June 12th, 2020
By Chynna Hawes

Lighthizer endorses worker-focused trade policy for 2020 

Next Wednesday, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will likely recommend a trade policy that prioritizes job creation and domestic manufacturing in annual testimony before the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees on the Trump administration’s 2020 trade agenda. In an essay published in the July/August issue of Foreign Affairs, Lighthizer argues that a worker-focused trade policy would enable the...