Administration assures Lugar of progress on sanctions negotiations

Thursday, 1 July 1999

During a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Assistant Secretary of State Stuart Eisenstat told Lugar that the language would be completed in the next few weeks while the committee is debating the sanctions issue. Additional hearings are scheduled for July.

Lugar is the sponsor of The Sanctions Policy Reform Act of 1999 (S. 757), which is cosponsored by 37 other Senators. The bill would require advanced impact studies on sanctions, review of a sanction to make certain it has the desired effect and a sanction to sunset after 2 years unless Congress and the President reauthorize it.

In May the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee approved the Agriculture Trade Freedom Act (S. 566). The bill, introduced by Agriculture Committee Chairman Dick Lugar, was the first sanctions reform legislation to advance in Congress this year.

The bill would exempt the commercial sales of agricultural commodities, livestock and value-added products from U.S. imposed unilateral sanctions. This would be subject to review by the President who could override an exemption for foreign policy or national security reasons. The bill applies to current and future sanctions.

“No sector of the U.S. economy is more reliant on international trade than agriculture. The results of approximately three out of every ten acres of our domestic agricultural production are sold outside of the United States. Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers of food, feedstuffs and fibers live outside our borders. As countries improve economically and democratically, their demand for better diets and more food imports will increase as well. The continued viability of U.S. agriculture depends on our ability to have access, as unfettered as possible, to world markets,” Lugar said.

“Our experience has been that suppliers in competitor countries quickly filled the void when the U.S. decided to deny itself market access. In the short term, significant sales are lost; in the longer term, the U.S. developed a reputation in some markets as an unreliable supplier. Billions of dollars in sales and income have been lost; thousands of jobs in our farm economy have been sacrificed. Morever, the evidence is clear that unilateral sanctions on food serve more to punish innocent victims in the sanctioned countries than the offending leadership, at the same time, failing to alter the behavior of the countries themselves,” Lugar said.


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