Washington DC – National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) President and USA*Engage Co-Chair Bill Reinsch today released a statement regarding the President’s signing of a bill Monday that aims to pressure the Sudanese government to end the genocide in Darfur through economic sanctions.
“The bill the President signed into law, effectively limiting the scope of state and local government efforts to divest from companies with ties to Sudan, clearly and narrowly defines the actions state governments may take with respect to divestment.
“While we opposed the bill and believe it to be unconstitutional, it nonetheless represents one of the more thoughtful approaches to divestment as it sets strict criteria and conditions which must be met if a state or local government plans to divest. The bill’s detailed provisions will make some legislation currently being considered by state legislatures around the country even more dubious from a constitutional perspective than they already are.
“Despite its flaws, the bill is an improvement over earlier versions as a result of serious and thoughtful work by both parties. We encourage states considering divestment legislation to take careful note of the new provisions to ensure that their proposed bills are in accordance with the law.”
In August 2006, the NFTC filed a lawsuit to challenge an Illinois Sudan divestment law, and in February 2007 a federal judge declared the law unconstitutional.
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.
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.