USA*Engage Urges Multilateral Response to Burmese Regime

Monday, 3 April 2006
“Our organizations are troubled by the ineffectiveness of the U.S. unilateral sanctions program, as well as the harm this policy does to the people of Burma,” said USA*Engage Co-Chair and National Foreign Trade Council President William A. Reinsch.  “We commend the concerns raised by Senators and the private sector about the program on the regime and the people in Burma.  We hope the Administration and Congress will take up a call to pursue new approaches to openness.”

Reinsch’s remarks come on the heels of a March 29 Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing on Burma, in which some participants urged multilateral efforts against the regime through regional talks or a resolution in the United Nations Security Council.

The organizations urged the Administration to consider the recommendations of Dr. Michael Green, Senior Advisor and Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who advocated for a U.S.-led international coalition, similar to the six party talks with the North Korean regime, to provide a “common roadmap” and “strength in numbers.”

While supporting the movement for a multilateral response, USA* Engage and NFTC cautioned against renewing the unilateral U.S. sanctions, which have not had the effect Congress intended.  “Nobody disputes the need for real changes in Burma,” Reinsch added.  “But Congress must take a hard look at the consequences of our sanctions program.  It is clear that sanctions have not worked, and it is time to try new approaches instead of going back to an ineffective model.”

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USA*Engage (www.usaengage.org) 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 and organized under the National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org), 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.