Chevron Chairman Calls For Major Reforms To U.S. Economic-Sanctions Policy At NFTC Forum

Friday, 6 November 1998

In a keynote address that capped a half-day National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) forum here, Derr also said unilateral sanctions are almost never effective. "We need to get started back in the right direction and stop penalizing American business for the actions of others," said Derr. "This country's unfortunate tendency to impose unilateral sanctions on other countries carries a price: lost opportunities and lost jobs for Americans." Derr argued that "engagement" through trade and shared business investments is a far more effective way to influence foreign governments because it generates economic benefits, rather than trying to withhold them.

"Engagement is really just a fancy word for people working hard to build solid, long-lasting relationships with other people," said Derr. "And while the fruits of economic engagement are not harvested quickly, the eventual changes that come from engagement stand a much better chance of becoming permanent." Derr said that the Sanction Reform Act which stalled in Congress this year should be taken up again and passed in 1999. The legislation would require the President and Congress -- before imposing sanctions on another country -- to use a strict process that would determine in advance whether the sanctions have clear, valid and achievable objectives.

He noted that the Institute for International Economics estimates that federal sanctions cost the nation $15 billion to $20 billion in lost exports in 1995 alone. Further, he said a 1994 study done by the U.S. Council on Competitiveness found that specific sanctions cost the U.S. economy $6 billion and 120,000 export related jobs.

In a separate address, Frank Kittredge, president of the National Foreign Trade Council said that while the business community does not disagree with the objectives of the federal sanctions measures imposed by the United States, there is significant concern that "unilateral sanctions have a dramatically unsuccessful track record in achieving their own objectives," and that "the cumulative impact of unilateral sanctions constitutes a significant cost to the U.S. economy."

Conferees also heard from Congressmen Calvin Dooley, Earl Blumenauer and Congresswoman-elect Grace Napolitano. The forum was co-sponsored by the National Foreign Trade Council, USA Engage, the Commonwealth Club of California, the California Council for International Trade and the World Affairs Council of Northern California.


To see the full text of Ken Derr's speech,"Engagement: A Better Alternative" click here.