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NFTC, USA*Engage Applaud 11th Circuit Courtís Decision in Sinaltrainal Alien Tort Case
Date: 8/12/2009
Written By: Jennifer Cummings, The Fratelli Group for NFTC, 202-822-9491

Washington DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and USA*Engage today welcomed a decision issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, dismissing Sinaltrainal, et al. v. the Coca-Cola Company, et al., a case in which plaintiffs, who were trade union organizers, brought suit against two bottling companies in Colombia under the Alien Tort Statute. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants, which included the Coca-Cola Company, aided and abetted Colombian paramilitary forces' crimes against humanity.

“We applaud the 11th Circuit Court's unanimous decision to uphold the District Court for the Southern District of Florida's dismissal of the case,” said NFTC President and USA*Engage Co-Chair Bill Reinsch. “Numerous cases have been brought by plaintiffs against U.S. and foreign multinational companies under the Alien Tort Statute, when companies have in fact acted lawfully. This decision has added the Circuit Court's voice to the growing body of jurisprudence that limits the liability of private companies for the actions of governments in whose territory they have operations.”

The NFTC and USA*Engage have long been active in opposing expansive use of aiding and abetting in alien tort cases and have filed amicus briefs in several such cases including this one.

For a full copy of the 11th Circuit Court's decision, click here.

About USA*Engage

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.

About the NFTC

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.