NFTC and USA*Engage Object to Application of U.S. Extraterritorial Sanctions in Mexico

Monday, 13 February 2006
The two groups object to the intervention of the U.S. Treasury Department to disrupt a conference of U.S. businessmen and Cuban officials on energy issues, which was held in Mexico City from February 2-4.  Starwood Hotels and Resorts ordered the Cuban delegation to leave its hotel, the Sheraton Maria Isabel, under pressure from the U.S. Government.

In a February 7 letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow, William A. Reinsch, President of the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and USA*Engage Co-Chair, called on the Treasury Department to “rethink how it applies sanctions in light of this recent controversy.”

As Reinsch explains in the letter, the application of U.S. sanctions to a hotel in Mexico has damaged relations with an important ally.  Reinsch noted that Mexican officials have already called for an investigation, and said that the use of sanctions “undermines government-to-government cooperation on important security and economic issues and damages the goodwill of the United States among the people of Mexico.”

In a separate editorial published in the Miami Herald on February 9, USA*Engage Director Jake Colvin called the sanctions “counterproductive” and indicated that they “limit[ ] our ability to project democratic values and advance U.S. foreign-policy goals.” 

Colvin argued that the U.S. Government should reexamine the impact of sanctions on Cuba and called for “new approaches” in U.S. foreign policy.

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The National Foreign Trade Council ( is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.

USA*Engage ( is a coalition of 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. Established in 1997, USA*Engage leads a campaign to inform policy-makers, opinion-leaders, and the public about the counterproductive nature of unilateral sanctions, the importance of exports and overseas investment for American competitiveness and jobs, and the role of American companies in promoting human rights and democracy world wide.