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Business Groups Left In 'Highly Uncertain' Position On Libya As U.S. Ties Fray
Date: 3/1/2011
Written By: The Hill, By Kevin Bogardus

"Business Groups Left In 'Highly Uncertain' Position On Libya As U.S. Ties Fray"
The Hill
March 1, 2011
By Kevin Bogardus

Business groups that have lobbied to lift U.S. sanctions on Libya in the past are now backing stringent measures designed to punish Moammar Gadhafi’s regime as the dictator oversees a brutal crackdown on protesters.

USA*Engage, a trade group that often battles against unilateral sanctions by the United States, said it is now backing the new penalties imposed by the United Nations and the European Union, calling them “a specific, clear and direct message to the Libyan authorities that the world is watching and is holding them accountable.”

“While some members of the U.N., including the Unites States, are seeking to impose unilateral sanctions against the regime, we believe it is in the best interest of the people of Libya to take action in concert with the rest of the international community. Only through highly targeted multilateral action can we hope to make the most meaningful impact on Gadhafi’s regime, help the Libyan people and avoid counterproductive consequences,” said the association in a statement Monday

… Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC), told The Hill that American business has been left in a “highly uncertain” position by Gadhafi’s actions. “Libya never became the perfect good guy. It has always been a complicated, difficult relationship,” Reinsch said. “Doing business there has been an awkward experience. Some went in and got out, and some never went in.”

Like USA*Engage, NFTC lobbied to lift U.S. sanctions against Libya after the country dropped its weapons program in 2003. But now the group supports multilateral action against Libya due to its crackdown on the demonstrators.