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NFTC, USA*Engage Join Other Leading Business Groups in Urging Congress to Oppose Inclusion of Sanctions Provision in Defense Spending Bill
Date: 9/11/2012
Written By: Jennifer Cummings, The Fratelli Group for NFTC, (202) 822-9491

Washington, DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and USA*Engage today joined with other leading business associations in sending a letter to all members of the House and Senate, urging them to oppose the inclusion of Section 803 in H.R. 4310, the House-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act FY13, in any final legislative product.

The groups wrote:

“Were Section 803 to become law, however, the provision would play havoc with U.S. defense supply chains, jeopardize relations with strategic defense allies, and discourage investment in the U.S. economy.

“As passed by the House, Section 803 would prohibit the Department of Defense (DOD) from contracting for the procurement of any goods or services with any person that has business operations with a state sponsor of terrorism. While U.S. companies work diligently to comply with the extensive sanctions already in place on the four U.S.-designated state sponsors of terrorism — Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria — Section 803 could inadvertently penalize commercial activities that are far removed from these countries and punish firms engaging in legitimate, job-creating commerce.

“Of note, Section 803’s definition of ‘business operations’ is extremely broad, and its definition of ‘person’ is far-reaching. Its debarment provision is triggered by activities – including humanitarian relief and a broad range of other activities fully in keeping with American values – related to any and all of the four countries and should be dropped from any final defense authorization legislation.

“…Section 803 not only far exceeds any existing sanctions measures, it contravenes the letter and spirit of U.S. defense cooperation agreements, with no articulated justification or finding of need. It undermines overarching U.S. foreign and security interests in preserving existing multilateral coalitions of countries united in their support of measures to inhibit global terrorism and nuclear non-proliferation.”

In addition to the NFTC and USA*Engage, the letter was signed by the following groups:
  • AdvaMed
  • Aerospace Industries Association
  • Airlines For America
  • American Association of Exporters and Importers
  • American Farm Bureau Federation
  • Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters
  • Cargo Airline Association
  • Emergency Committee for American Trade (ECAT)
  • General Aviation Manufacturers Association
  • Information Technology Industry Council
  • National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)
  • National Defense Industrial Association
  • National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)
  • Organization for International Investment
  • Telecommunications Industry Association
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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 policymakers, 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 worldwide.

About the NFTC
Advancing Global Commerce for Nearly A Century- 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.
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