USA*ENGAGE Sees Unilateral Sanctions Contributing to Rising Trade Deficit

Thursday, 19 June 1997

"It seems clear to us that the proliferation of unilateral economic sanctions by the United States contributes to the growth of our annual trade deficit," said Frank Kittredge, Vice Chairman of USA*ENGAGE and President of the National Foreign Trade Council. "If we are serious about reversing this trend, we cannot ignore the harmful effects that unilateral sanctions are having on our ability to compete in a growing number of foreign markets."

The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced an $8.4 billion trade deficit on goods and services for the month of April 1997. The U.S. trade deficit increased to $41 billion in the first quarter of 1997 from $36.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 1996.

"Unilateral sanctions are becoming increasingly costly to Americans," said Kittredge, who singled out China as a prime example of lost opportunity. Kittredge pointed to the U.S. ban on the sale of nuclear power generation equipment to China. Because of the export ban, China has turned to France, Canada and the Russian Federation to purchase $15 billion in equipment. Similarly, Kittredge cited a 1993 case in which the U.S. unilaterally banned exports of satellite equipment to China - preventing a $400 million sale and sacrificing a long-term joint venture for Hughes Aircraft. The Chinese transferred their business to Germany's Deutche Aerospace - which adversely affected up to 25,000 U.S. jobs.

"What did the U.S. gain from these sanctions? Lost U.S. exports and lost U.S. jobs. It is time to put an end to this misguided policy. Unilateral sanctions are almost always ineffective, and they are implemented at a great cost to Americans," he concluded.

USA*ENGAGE is a broad-based coalition representing 560 small and large American businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations. The organization supports American engagement overseas as the best means to promote human rights and American values and 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