Passage of Sanctions Reform Act Urged

Wednesday, 25 March 1998

"S.1413 provides reasonable, common-sense reforms that would provide a more disciplined, deliberative process for considering unilateral sanctions. With greater focus on prevention, process and accountability, we believe the U.S. will have a more effective foreign policy," Lane said in testimony before the Subcommittee on International Economic Policy, Export and Trade Promotion of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Pointing to the rapidly increasing use of unilateral sanctions by the United States -- more than 60 sanctions in just the past five years -- Lane noted that the President's Export Council has reported that U.S. unilateral sanctions now threaten 75 countries with 52 percent of the world's population.

"We believe that unilateral sanctions should be considered only after Congress and the Executive Branch have exhausted potential alternatives such as diplomatic initiatives and multilateral pressure," he continued.

If unilateral sanctions must be considered, Lane proposed that they be judged by the following criteria:


  • whether they actually can achieve their intended results;
  • the harm they will cause to other national interests;
  • and the costs imposed on Americans.

Lane recounted examples of how American exporters continue to be hurt by ineffective unilateral sanctions, and how unilateral sanctions may in fact be counterproductive to U.S. foreign policy -- negatively impacting everything from U.S. relations with its Gulf War allies to IMF attempts to stabilize Asian economies. "USA*ENGAGE is unapologetic in its belief that engagement can be a powerful force for positive change when pursued at all levels -- political, diplomatic, economic, charitable, religious, educational and cultural. In contrast, a unilateral sanction can isolate America -- taking away the influence and credibility we gain be being there. It's time that we stop using unilateral sanctions as America's foreign policy weapon of choice," he concuded.

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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