USA*ENGAGE Cites Sanctions Exemption for Food and Medicine as Another Important Step Towards Meaning

Wednesday, 28 April 1999

"We are pleased that the Administration continues to recognize the need to reform current U.S. sanctions policy. Using food and medicine as a weapon targets the most vulnerable, without accomplishing U.S. foreign policy goals," said Frank Kittredge, President of the National Foreign Trade Council and Vice Chairman of USA*ENGAGE. "Today's action is not only a significant humanitarian gesture, but it will also remove an ineffective and harmful aspect of U.S. foreign policy."

Despite the positive development, Kittredge noted that "Exempting food and medicine, while admirable, does not solve the overriding problem of American business and agriculture being labeled 'unreliable suppliers' in the global market. Congress should build on today's positive step to pass the comprehensive sanctions reform legislation currently under consideration."

USA*ENGAGE strongly supports such legislation, the Sanctions Process Reform Act, a bill that would impose a more disciplined process prior to the imposition of future unilateral sanctions. "If this legislation had already been in place, it is unlikely that policymakers would have relied on using food and medicine as weapons of foreign policy in the first place," Kittredge concluded.

USA*ENGAGE is a coalition of over 670 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.