Unintended, Anti-Competitive Consequences of Sanctions Bill

By January 27, 2010General, Trade

The National Association and other major business and international trade groups have written the National Economic Council and the National Security Council detailing serious problems with two bills to impose global sanctions in an effort to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons technology.

Worthy goal, but an overreaching and damaging approach. Excerpt from the letter:

The undersigned business organizations are profoundly concerned that current legislative proposals to expand U.S. sanctions on Iran (H.R. 2194 and S. 2799) would significantly undermine the U.S. national interest. While we agree that preventing Iran from developing the capability to produce nuclear weapons is an urgent U.S. national security objective, the unilateral, extraterritorial, and overly broad approach of these bills would undercut rather than advance this critical objective.

The proposed sanctions would incite economic, diplomatic, and legal conflicts with U.S. allies
and could frustrate joint action against Iran. They could prohibit any U.S. company from transacting routine business with critical partners from around the globe even if these transactions have no bearing on business with Iran. These provisions could encompass a very large portion of the global trade community with consequences that in our view have not been adequately assessed.

The proposals could have a large impact on the U.S. Export-Import Bank, precluding it from
partnering with counterpart agencies abroad to co-finance U.S. exports that have no relation to Iran’s energy sector. A significant portion of the bank’s portfolio could be impacted, compromising its ability to boost U.S. exports.

For links to the bills, click H.R. 2194 and S. 2799.

Other signers are the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, National Foreign Trade Council, Emergency Committee for American Trade, USA*Engage, U.S. Council for International Business, and the Coalition for Employment through Exports.

See also Politico, Laura Rozen’s blog.

UPDATE (10:40 a.m.): Reuters also reports, “U.S. business groups warned the White House on Tuesday that congressional plans to expand U.S. sanctions on Iran threaten to significantly undermine U.S. economic and security interests.”

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