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American Shipper

Trade coalition faults proposed U.S. sanctions against Burma

Trade coalition faults proposed U.S. sanctions against Burma

A Washington-based trade coalition faulted the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s approval of legislation to impose unilateral U.S. sanctions against Burma’s military government.

   “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,” said Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, and co-chairman of USA*Engage.

   USA*Engage was formed in 1997 as a coalition of businesses, agricultural groups and trade associations working to seek alternatives to the increased use of unilateral U.S. foreign policy sanctions and to promote the benefits of U.S. engagement abroad.

   The coalition called the 2007 Block Burmese JADE (Junta’s Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act (H.R. 3890) a noble effort by the U.S. government, but any effort to deal a firm hand with the Burmese government through sanctions should be coordinated with other trading nations.

   “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,” Reinsch said. “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.”

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