free trade, unilateral and economic trade sanctions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 2, 2002
Contact:  Eric Thomas
Emily Kelley
202/822-9491

USA*Engage Announces Opposition to Proposed Syria Sanctions

Washington, D.C. - In a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert and other key Members of Congress, USA*Engage today urged the House to reject the "Syria Accountability Act of 2002" (H.R.4483).

"This legislation is fatally flawed: it cannot achieve its stated goal of influencing the Syrian government to change its policies. Instead, it will seriously undermine the political and commercial role of the U.S. in the Middle East," said USA*Engage co-Chairs Don Deline and Bill Reinsch.

The letter pointed out that the imposition of sweeping unilateral sanctions on Syria would run the risk of upsetting the delicate balance of U.S. diplomacy in the Middle East, noting Secretary of State Colin Powell's recent visit to Syria and meeting with President Assad.

"This bill does not add new authorities that the President does not already possess. It only perpetuates the myth that difficult international problems can be addressed by ineffective U.S. unilateral economic sanctions," the coalition letter continued. The letter also reported that over three hundred American companies currently have business relations with Syria.

The full text of the USA*Engage letter can be found at www.usaengage.org.

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 www.usaengage.org.

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