iStock_000020654006_SmallEarly last week, President Barack Obama visited Cuba, the first U.S. executive to do so in 90 years, before concluding his trip abroad in Argentina.  The President’s historic stop was overshadowed by the terrorist attack in Brussels.  This week, President Obama will host the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, on the margins of which he will meet with several foreign leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping. The ongoing U.S.-China bilateral investment treaty (BIT) negotiations may be one topic raised during their meeting.

The House of Representatives was in session for part of last week, while the Senate was in recess.  Both chambers are in recess this week and return to Washington in April.Brussels Attack.  While in Cuba, President Obama spoke with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, offering his condolences for the terrorist attacks in Brussels last week that killed multiple people at the city’s airport and a metro stop near the European Union institutions.

President’s Trip to Cuba and Argentina.  At a joint press conference with Cuban President Raul Castro last Monday, President Obama observed, “the list of things that we can do administratively is growing shorter, and the bulk of changes that have to be made with respect to the embargo are now going to rely on Congress making changes.”  A White House fact sheet details changes in the bilateral relationship between the two countries, including expanded business and commercial ties.  The U.S. Department of Commerce also released a fact sheet focused on economic development resulting from the Administration’s new regulatory framework and policy toward Cuba.  

In Buenos Aires last Wednesday, President Obama met with newly elected President Mauricio Macri to discuss strengthening the U.S.-Argentina relationship and addressing global challenges such as climate change, peacekeeping, refugees, and the defense of human rights and democracy.  The leaders also agreed to work together to advance the regional and global response to the Zika virus and discussed a possible U.S.-Mercosur free trade agreement.  The White House released a fact sheet on the bilateral relationship, acknowledging Argentina’s support for the ratification and implementation of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

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