USA*ENGAGE Calls on Maryland to Reject Sanctions

Thursday, 26 February 1998

"While the sponsor's intentions are good, economic sanctions are the wrong tool for achieving the intended goals," said Frank Kittredge, President of the National Foreign Trade Council and Vice Chairman of USA*ENGAGE. "Unilateral sanctions by the state of Maryland will not encourage the government of Nigeria to embrace positive reforms. However, unilateral sanctions will harm Nigerian workers employed by U.S. companies, as well as Maryland farmers, businesses and workers."

The legislation (SB 354) will be the subject of hearings before the Senate Economic & Environmental Affairs Committee, on Thursday, February 26, in Annapolis. A companion bill has been introduced in the Maryland House of Representatives (HB 1273).

"Promoting change in Nigeria can best be achieved through engagement and multilateral cooperation. The United States -- and the state of Maryland -- can best encourage a transition to democracy through dialogue with Nigerian leaders, and by supporting institutions that nurture positive change. We will not achieve these goals by pursuing a policy of disengagement," Kittredge continued.

The Nigerian government reportedly has embarked on a three-year program towards democracy, with a first round of local elections held in March of 1997.

USA*ENGAGE is a coalition of 661 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.


Contact: Eric Thomas 202/822-9491

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