USA*Engage Urges Administration to Oppose Renewal of ILSA

Thursday, 7 June 2001

"ILSA has been ineffective and counterproductive," said Bill Reinsch, President of the National Foreign Trade Council and Co-Chairman of USAHEngage. "ILSA has never been enforced and is incapable of being enforced. We are in full agreement with the goals of those in favor of ILSA, but this is legislation that does not work and never will work."

Furthermore, Reinsch added, "ILSA has been a major irritant in our relations with our allies and trading partners to conduct an effective policy toward Iran and Libya. Renewing the law will send a powerful message to our European allies that we are continuing a failed unilateral policy. Allowing ILSA to expire would clear the way for a new policy based on current realities to serve U.S. national interests."

ILSA is a secondary boycott that has failed to prevent Iran and Libya from receiving significant capital investment in their oil and gas sectors. Last March, Congressional Research Service reported that $10.5 billion of foreign investment has taken place in Iran's oil and gas sector since 1997. Iran expects $1.5 billion to be invested in its petrochemical sector this year. These investors include companies from France, Canada, Italy, Japan, the UK, among others, which have not been deterred by the threat of ILSA.

"ILSA is simply a blunt instrument that hinders the real work of U.S. diplomacy," Reinsch said.

USAHENGAGE 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.  For more information on USAHENGAGE and the harmful effects of unilateral trade sanctions, visit the USAHENGAGE web site at


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