USA*ENGAGE Opposes McCollum-Schumer Bill

Thursday, 10 July 1997

"Here they go again. This is just the same discredited foreign policy tool that is used whenever the U.S. seeks to pressure foreign governments to cooperate," said Frank Kittredge, Vice Chairman of USAHENGAGE and President of the National Foreign Trade Council. "The ideals of suppressing terrorism and encouraging peace and diplomacy are shared by all Americans. But imposing unilateral economic sanctions is not an effective means of accomplishing these goals and will only end up hurting American businesses and American workers. Besides, it isolates the targeted countries from the very positive influence that U.S. engagement achieves."

The United States has authorized 61 unilateral sanctions on 35 nations in the past four years. The McCollum-Schumer legislation is yet another example of the U.S. seeking to exert influence through the imposition of counter-productive unilateral economic sanctions.

This legislation goes far beyond previous approaches. Possible consequences of such rigid legislative constraints include:

* U.S. nationals could no longer support or work on humanitarian programs in these countries, even to avert wide-scale famine.

* U.S. nationals could no longer travel to these countries. This includes journalists attempting to expose the policies of the governments.

* The U.S. could not receive payment for claims from these governments, even in recompense for terrorist acts.

USA*ENGAGE is encouraging the United States to pursue diplomatic solutions and a policy of engagement when faced with terrorism and other problems in countries throughout the world. Unilateral economic sanctions are ineffective and counter-productive, and better means should be found to accomplish these goals. USA*ENGAGE is a broad-based coalition representing 606 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