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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

'Secondary Boycotts' Move Draws Anger of U.S. Allies

WASHINGTON -- Some of America's staunchest allies are angrily criticizing U.S. efforts to force them to comply with Washington's economic embargoes against Cuba, Iran and Libya.


What's upsetting these governments is an effort by Congress, backed by the Clinton administration, to impose "secondary boycotts" on nations that trade with countries on the U.S. embargo list. That means, say, that a German company that invested in Iran might be excluded from selling products in the United States.


German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel unloaded on the Clinton administration in unusually strong language in an appearance here Wednesday night before the American Jewish Committee. He accused the United States of "putting us to the pillory" for continuing political and economic relations with Iran.


The German official was echoing comments that have been made by officials from other leading U.S. trading partners, such as France, Britain, Mexico, Canada and Japan.


But Congress and the Clinton administration appear unmoved and willing to risk the outrage of U.S. allies to press politically popular election-year crackdowns against three unpopular regimes.


Under one new law already signed by Clinton, some corporate executives from Canada or from an allied European nation will be denied permission to enter the United States in the next few weeks because they work for companies with investments in Cuba.


At about the same time, Congress is likely to complete work on a bill that would impose trade sanctions on foreign corporations doing business in Iran or Libya.


European officials are threatening retaliation and torching Washington with increasingly strident criticism.


Ian Taylor, a senior British trade official, suggested last week that London might even consider restricting entry rights for some Americans.


Hugo Paemen, the European Union's ambassador to Washington, wrote to the leaders of both houses of Congress last week that the EU already has begun proceedings in the World Trade Organization to oppose the "extraterritorial implications" of the Cuba secondary boycott.