USA*ENGAGE Lauds Sanctions Report

Tuesday, 10 March 1998

"The recommendations of the Sanctions Working Group (SWG) are a reasonable, common sense approach to government decision making. For too long, vital foreign policy decisions effecting vast sectors of the American economy have been made without a thoughtful deliberation of the real impact that unilateral economic sanctions can have," said Frank Kittredge, Vice Chairman of USA*ENGAGE and President of the National Foreign Trade Council. "U.S. unilateral sanctions are usually ineffective in achieving our foreign policy goals, yet they often have a significant negative impact on the U.S. economy."

The SWG concluded the following:


    1. U.S. economic sanctions can impose significant costs on U.S. firms and workers.

    2. Unilateral economic sanctions usually fail to change the behavior or the government of target countries.

    3. Unilateral sanctions can tarnish the image of U.S. companies and individuals as reliable suppliers, thereby eroding U.S. credibility and undermining U.S. leadership.

    4. Unilateral sanctions violate international norms and expectations, thus undercutting multilateral cooperation in support of U.S. interests.

    5. Unilateral U.S. sanctions have been proliferating dramatically, affecting U.S. economic relationships with countries accounting for more than two-fifths of the world's population.


In light of these conclusions, the SWG Report recommends that a strategic framework, or "policy ramp" be adopted to ensure that a full array of alternatives be considered prior to the imposition of unilateral sanctions. In addition, the SWG advocates an improvement in Executive Branch and Congressional internal review procedures to ensure that relevant costs, benefits and alternatives are considered prior to the adoption of sanctions. And, the report calls on the U.S. to work with its G-7 partners to improve prospects for multilateral actions.

"This report offers yet another validation of the need for a more considered approach to U.S. sanctions policy," continued Kittredge. "There is a growing acknowledgment that unilateral sanctions -- while politically popular -- often undermine our nation's foreign policy goals and hurt U.S. commercial interests and American workers. We are hopeful that Secretary Albright and the State Department will take the SWG recommendations seriously when the next call for sanctions arises."

Kittredge pointed to a growing list of studies and reports that corroborate the call by USA*ENGAGE that because unilateral economic sanctions are often counterproductive, alternatives to economic sanctions should be more widely considered. These studies include reports from the Presidents' Export Council; the International Institute for Economics; The Heritage Foundation; the National Association of Manufacturers; the American Enterprise Institute; and the CATO Institute.

USA*ENGAGE is a broad-based coalition representing 661 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 202/822-9491

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