free trade, unilateral and economic trade sanctions

April 12, 2002
Contact:  Eric Thomas
Emily Kelley

Unilateral Sanctions More Targeted, Imposed With Less Frequency, According to New Study

Despite decrease, continued fight for sanctions reform imperative, says Reinsch

Washington, D.C. While unilateral sanctions continue to be imposed by the United States, the frequency in which they are implemented has decreased since the late 1990s, according to a new report by Dr. Barry Carter, Director of the International Business and Economic Law Program at the Georgetown University Law Center. The Study of U.S. Unilateral Sanctions: 1997-2001 also finds that, today, unilateral sanctions are often more targeted than those imposed before 1996, a significant change from previous practice.

As earlier studies have reported, in 1996 alone, the U.S. imposed 26 new unilateral sanctions. The Carter Study reports that between 1997 and the end of 2001, 59 new U.S. unilateral sanctions were imposed a significant drop from the 1996 annual rate. In fact, in 2000, the U.S. imposed no new unilateral sanctions. Moreover, between 1997 and 2001, 26 existing unilateral sanctions were removed from the books.

"USA*Engage has worked hard to bring about a much-needed shift in policy and this study shows that our efforts are paying off," said Bill Reinsch, President of the NFTC and Vice-Chairman of USA*Engage. "Despite an increase in 'smart' sanctions, broad unilateral sanctions are still in use and continue to be ineffective and counterproductive. The need for true sanctions reform is imperative if the U.S. wants to maintain its leadership in the global community."

New "smart" sanctions often freeze the assets of people and groups believed to be involved in terrorism, drug production or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction - and less often apply to entire nations.

"The results of this study should call attention to the need for reflection on the role of the U.S. in the global community," said Don Deline, Chairman of USA*Engage. "While our sanctions policy is improving, we can no longer risk conducting foreign policy on the cheap."

Deline noted that the pending Sudan Peace Act, which threatens unilateral capital market sanctions, and the reauthorization of the Iran Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) in 2001 are examples of the continued support for broad unilateral sanctions designed to impact the behavior of other nations while rarely meeting the intended objective.

USA*ENGAGE is a coalition of over 670 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. For more information on USA*ENGAGE and the harmful effects of unilateral trade sanctions, visit the USA*ENGAGE web site at



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