Biden Signs Executive Order to Minimize AI Risks

U.S. President Joe Biden signed a new executive order on Monday aiming to minimize the risks posed by artificial intelligence (AI) to consumers, workers, minority groups, and national security. The order mandates developers of AI systems with potential national security, economic, public health, or safety risks to share safety test results with the U.S. government before public release, aligning with the Defense Production Act. The order requires testing standards to address a variety of risks including discrimination, and it urges Congress for more AI regulation. Read the executive order here.

U.S. Withdraws Digital Trade Proposals for WTO

U.S. Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai rescinded Trump-era proposals on digital trade from the World Trade Organization last week, saying the withdrawal will give U.S. lawmakers more time to work out their own regulations on big tech. The decision drew criticism from business groups and politicians, including Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR), who said the move leaves a vacuum that China will fill. The proposals would allow for the free flow of data used by businesses across borders, and prohibit certain requirements for companies, including requirements to transfer software source codes. Read more from Reuters.

Xinjiang Forced Labor Shifts to Labor Transfers

A recent study published in Central Asian Survey alleges that Uyghur prison camps ended in 2019, and labor transfers now surpass internment camps as the primary method of forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. These transfers focus on rural people who were never imprisoned. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) considers labor transfers outside Xinjiang as forced labor, but few Eastern China companies employing Muslim minority workers have been identified. The study states that most transfers occur within Xinjiang, and products from the region are presumed to involve forced labor under UFLPA. Read the full study here.

Freight Forwarders Work with CBP, DHS to Stop Fentanyl Trade

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced last week that it is beefing up its strategy to stop the illegal trade of fentanyl and other synthetic drugs. The new plan involves the cooperation of the postal service, freight forwarders and logistic companies, and includes sharing data information about shipments. CBP said it would work with companies “to thwart the flow of illicit fentanyl by enhancing information-sharing efforts, producing actionable intelligence, targeting the synthetic supply chain, and protecting CBP’s personnel and canines from exposure to fentanyl.” Read the CBP news release.

Lawmaker Criticizes Carbon Taxes ahead of Proposed Carbon Bill

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced a resolution against carbon taxes in the Senate last week that he hopes paves the way for a carbon border adjustment tax. Sen. Cassidy plans to introduce carbon border adjustment tax legislation soon. He calls his plan a foreign pollution fee or a tariff on carbon-intensive imported goods, but he insists it is not a carbon tax. On Friday last week, he introduced a resolution stating that a carbon tax is a “regressive federal tax” and is detrimental to the U.S. economy. Read Sen. Cassidy’s resolution.