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USA*Engage and NFTC Call on Congress to Reconsider Unilateral Sanctions Bill Targeting Burma
Date: 10/23/2007

Calls “Feel Good” Sanctions Ineffective and Distracting


Washington, DC – USA*Engage and the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today released a statement expressing concern over the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s approval of H.R. 3890, the Block Burmese JADE (Junta's Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2007, which would impose new unilateral U.S. sanctions against Burma.


“The need to utilize sanctions to influence the behavior of rogue governments and bad actors is a necessary tool of diplomacy, but imposing unilateral U.S. sanctions is ineffectual at best and often counterproductive. While it is clear that the United States must take a strong stand, one country alone cannot effectively limit the economic activity.  This is particularly true in Burma, where we have little leverage to begin with. Engaging other nations in efforts to pressure the regime there is by far the best diplomatic strategy to effect change,” said Bill Reinsch, NFTC President and Co-Chair of USA*Engage.


“The sanctions under consideration will do nothing more than make us feel good about taking a stand, while distracting efforts for real and long lasting change. It is important for Congress and the Administration to work in coordination with allied nations to combat repressive regimes if we are to achieve success in any sanctions effort,” Reinsch continued.


“Institutionalizing sanctions and removing the periodic approval process by Congress will make it virtually impossible for the President to adapt sanctions to changing circumstances or reward good behavior. Extending sanctions indefinitely is simply bad public policy,” said Reinsch. “We hope that in the coming weeks, Members of Congress will thoroughly review this provision and identify ways to engage our allies to effect real change for the people of Burma.”




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 and organized under the National Foreign Trade Council (, 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.


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.