Unilateral economic sanctions for foreign policy purposes are almost always ineffective in achieving their stated objectives. Worse still, they usually harm innocent people more than the target regimes, and surrender U.S. commercial opportunities to companies from competitor nations. Experience has shown that unwinding sanctions does not fully repair the damage. Nonetheless, unilateral sanctions continue to have strong political appeal. They give the impression that the United States is "doing something" about a foreign problem, while American workers, farmers and businesses absorb the costs.
USA*Engage supports efforts to reform the process for considering and administering unilateral U.S. sanctions by supporting legislation to mandate common sense tests for proposed sanctions legislation. The coalition also supports increased transparency, especially in the procedures of the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, as well as greater interaction between the business community and the government on enforcement issues.
USA*Engage closely monitors new sanctions proposals in the Congress and interacts with Congressional staff to minimize unintended consequences of new legislation.