USA*ENGAGE Calls for End to "Local Foreign Policy"

Friday, 16 May 1997

"It is in America's best interest to allow our federal government to conduct U.S. foreign policy. What we are witnessing now is the creation of a quagmire of state and municipal sanctions that will only end up hurting American interests - and will have no influence whatsoever on the actions of other nations," said Frank Kittredge, Vice Chairman of USA*ENGAGE and President of the National Foreign Trade Council.

The ban would prohibit New York City from purchasing goods or services, signing construction contracts, or making bank deposits with companies with business links to Burma. It is the latest in a national patchwork of sanctions adopted and being considered at the state, county and municipal levels.

"The New York City Council has acted irresponsibly. Its actions will have little or no impact on Burma and will hurt New York's reputation as a business-friendly environment. These local foreign policy actions undermine American leadership and global credibility, and ultimately end up hurting U.S. workers. We firmly believe that promoting U.S. engagement is the best tool we have to promote American values, democracy and prosperity," Kittredge stated.

USA*ENGAGE is a broad-based coalition representing 490 small and large American businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations. The organization supports American engagement overseas as the best means to promote human rights, values and American interests. Coalition members are undertaking a sustained effort to support greater overseas involvement by the United States at all levels -- political, diplomatic, economic, charitable, religious, educational and cultural -- and to seek alternatives to the use of unilateral economic sanctions.


Contact: Eric Thomas or Kim McCreery at 202-822-9491