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Leading Trade Groups Say Proposed Ex-Im Bank Restrictions Amount to Unilateral U.S. Sanction on Worldwide Companies
Date: 6/23/2009
Written By: Jennifer Cummings, The Fratelli Group for NFTC, 202-822-9491

Amendments to FY2010 State, Foreign Appropriations Bill Would Have Little Impact on Iranian Regime and Risk Undermining Multilateral Diplomacy

Washington, DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC), USA*Engage and the Council for Employment Through Experts (CEE) late yesterday sent a letter to the Chairman of the House Appropriations to express deep concern about proposed amendments to the FY2010 State, Foreign Appropriations bill, which would prohibit the Export-Import Bank from supporting U.S. exports to companies worldwide that may have business ties with Iran’s energy sector. The associations noted that the proposed restrictions would amount to a unilateral U.S. sanction against companies operating in the same countries whose governments are playing leading roles in multilateral efforts to influence the Iranian regime.

“While it is understandable that Members of Congress seek new points of leverage against the Iranian regime, we believe that any unilateral U.S. sanction applied to companies around the world because they are doing business, legally under their national laws, with Iran’s energy sector would only harm U.S exporters and their workers and would jeopardize the U.S. government’s ongoing effort to build more effective multilateral pressure on the Iranian government,” wrote NFTC President and USA*Engage Co-Chair Bill Reinsch and CEE President Ed Rice. “If Congress were to cut off Ex-Im Bank support or U.S. export sales to these worldwide companies, billions of dollars in U.S exports would be stopped and the consequent job loss would fall on American workers.”

The associations also pointed out that the proposed restrictions to the Ex-Im Bank would fall short of their intended goal to impact Iran’s energy sector, as the governments of a number of countries – China, Japan, Russia, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Italy, Britain, France, Germany, Norway and Switzerland – have encouraged companies to play an active role. “Moreover, any U.S. sanction on companies that do business with Iran’s energy sector certainly would negatively affect current U.S. government efforts to build support for multilateral pressure on Iran’s government,” the letter reads.

In conclusion, Reinsch and Rice wrote, “We believe the Appropriations Committee should refrain from including any provision in the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations bill that would undercut our government’s diplomatic initiative and would penalize American exporters and their workers.”

For a copy of the letter, please click here.

About USA*Engage

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.

About the NFTC

The National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org) 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.