USA*Engage Hails IIE Study Finding that Alien Tort Lawsuits Pose Real Threat to Global Economy

Thursday, 24 July 2003

“This IIE study is a highly thoughtful and well-documented analysis of the damaging consequences these ATP suits could have, not only on the U.S. economy, but also on the economies of many developing nations,” said Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council and Co-Chairman of USA*Engage. Reinsch added that “this statute is being used to sue multinational corporations for the actions of foreign governments over which they have no control. By increasing the uncertainty of doing business in developing countries, the suits discourage much needed foreign direct investment there, slowing down their growth and setting back their progress toward becoming free market democracies.”

The study, Awakening Monster: The Alien Tort Statute of 1789, projects that more than $300 billion in global trade and investment could be lost as a result of current and potential lawsuits. In light of the benefits of overseas investment to the U.S. economy, the suits can cause damage here at home by endangering hundreds of thousands of American jobs, as well as over two million jobs in the developing world.

Citing the “hazards of judicial imperialism,” the IIE report points out that “for almost 200 years, the ATP slept. It is now an awakening monster. Unless checked by Congress or the Supreme Court, trial lawyers will seek to expand the scope of ATP awards to such an extent that investment and trade in developing countries will be seriously threatened…Along the way, the United States will find itself at loggerheads with traditional allies, trading partners, and developing countries.”

Read the Study

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