USA*ENGAGE Endorses Sanctions Reform Bill

Thursday, 23 October 1997

"The Enhancement of Trade, Security, and Human Rights through Sanctions Reform Act" is a serious bill that recognizes that unilateral sanctions rarely work -- yet almost always end up hurting other American policy objectives.

"We regard this bill's enactment as a matter of serious national policy because it will require thorough and sober consideration of the impact of unilateral sanctions before they are imposed, including ascertaining their chances for success or failure, their costs, and any alternative means of achieving the objectives of the sanctions," said USA*ENGAGE spokesman Richard Albrecht, Senior Advisor to The Boeing Company, in testimony before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on International Trade.

"The members of USA*ENGAGE believe we can continue America's tradition of engagement if legislation like the Hamilton-Crane-Lugar bill is adopted. Without remedies like this, I fear the growth in the use of unilateral sanctions will continue to impair our ability to spread ideals like human rights, rule of law, and religious freedom," Albrecht continued.

In its endorsement, USA*ENGAGE noted that the Hamilton-Crane-Lugar Bill would provide for responsible, practical reform of U.S. sanctions policy. It would not prevent Congress or the Executive Branch from imposing future unilateral sanctions. Instead, the bill would establish a much needed deliberative process prior to the imposition of future sanctions.

"This legislation would not seek the repeal of any existing sanctions legislation, nor would it prevent the President or the Congress from imposing sanctions whenever the foreign policy or national security of the United States dictates," testified Frank Kittredge President of the National Foreign Trade Council and Vice Chairman of USA*ENGAGE. "Rather, this legislation seeks to ensure that a sensible, deliberative and fully informed process is established for the consideration of future sanctions and their alternatives."

The widespread impact of U.S. unilateral sanctions has been documented by several recent studies, including an Institute for International Economics report which found that U.S. unilateral sanctions cost the U.S. economy 200-250,000 jobs in 1995 and reduced U.S. exports by $15 - 20 billion; and a report by the President's Export Council finding that U.S. unilateral sanctions now threaten 75 nations representing 52% of the world's population.

USA*ENGAGE is a coalition of 652 small and large businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations working to seek alternatives to the proliferation of unilateral U.S. foreign policy sanctions and to promote the benefits of U.S. engagement abroad.