USA*Engage Calls for Elimination of U.S. Sanctions on Libya

Friday, 12 September 2003

"Our justified moral outrage at the Libyan government's past behavior should not obscure our best judgment about the long term impact that continued U.S. unilateral sanctions may have on our role in the region and also on our economy. Libya has finally come to the table, and the United Nations has responded. The world is now waiting on a sound response from the U.S., and we urge officials to lift these unneeded sanctions," said Bill Reinsch, President of the National Foreign Trade Council and Co-Chairman of USA*Engage.

The U.S. has maintained prohibitions on American companies' ability to trade and invest in Libya since 1986. In addition, Libya is on the list of state sponsors of terrorism. The Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) authorizes penalties on foreign companies that invest in Libya's oil and gas industry.

"U.S. sanctions should be weighed carefully, with U.S. national security interests remaining paramount," Reinsch continued. "However, it is our belief that continued unilateral economic sanctions will serve no purpose in the absence of U.N. sanctions and, in fact, will be counterproductive. Libya will be free to trade with and receive investment from every other country on earth, and the sole result of U.S. sanctions will be to multiply opportunities for foreign companies in Libya.

"This has been a long, difficult road, particularly for the flight victims' families. If Libya finally meets all terms of the settlement agreement, it will be time for the United States to recognize this important change in Libya's behavior and take steps to end economic sanctions," Reinsch 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. For more information on USA*ENGAGE and the harmful effects of unilateral trade sanctions, visit the USA*ENGAGE web site at