USA*Engage Issues Strong Endorsement of Sanctions Reform Legislation

Wednesday, 19 November 2003

"The Sanctions Policy Reform Act is important, common sense legislation that will be a top priority for USA*Engage in 2004," said Robert Haines, Co-Chairman of USA*Engage. "Senator Lugar recognizes that all too often the United States has imposed unilateral sanctions without fully examining either the likelihood of success or the potential for unintended consequences. This legislation is designed to restore reason to the process."

The Lugar bill would require a more deliberative and disciplined approach to U.S. sanctions policy, so that such measures are driven by analysis, instead of being pushed to counterproductive ends by politics and emotion. As part of this process, the Sanctions Policy Reform Act would ensure that Congress and the Executive Branch have adequate information regarding the likely effectiveness and economic and humanitarian costs of a proposed sanction and have conducted a detailed analysis of whether the proposed sanction is the best tool for achieving U.S. objectives.

"History has shown that unilateral sanctions rarely achieve their stated policy objectives, and often end up only hurting U.S. business and agricultural interests. Moreover, economic sanctions often deliver the harshest penalty to those populations in the targeted country that bear no responsibility for their government's actions and possess no economic recourse," said Bill Reinsch, President of the National Foreign Trade Council and Co-Chairman of USA*Engage.

"While sanctions, even unilateral ones, may be appropriate at times, we need to recognize that engagement can be a powerful force for positive change when pursued at all levels - political, diplomatic, economic, charitable, religious, educational, and cultural. In contrast, a unilateral sanction can isolate America, taking away the influence and credibility we gain by being involved," 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