Resolution on Unilateral Trade Sanctions Exposed

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The Resolution on Unilateral Trade Sanctions was adopted by ALEC's Trade and Transportation Task Force at the Annual Meeting on August 21, 1998, approved by the full ALEC Board of Directors September, 1998. According to, the Resolution was re-approved by the Board of Directors on January 28, 2013. (Accessed on 2/29/2016).

CMD's Bill Summary

From its 1998 resolution in support of "Fast Track" Trade Promotion Authority, which was used to push a permanent normal trading relationship with China through Congress in 2000 with little discussion or debate, to more recent resolutions in support of the proposed Colombia, Panama and Korea Free Trade Agreements, ALEC has consistently urged its members to support a radical "free trade" agenda. This free trade agenda has cost America millions of jobs as factories closed and moved overseas in search of cheaper labor. Since 2001, an estimated 2.4 million American jobs have been lost to China alone. Now a diverse array of service sector jobs, from accounting and tax preparation to health care and credit card servicing are being off-shored under these agreements. Such free trade agreements also allow public health, consumer, environmental and worker safety rules to be challenged as "barriers to trade" in trade tribunals that operate outside the constraints of U.S. law.

ALEC has also been a major promoter of the U.S. tobacco industry, which seeks to hook new generations of smokers on their products around the world. Reynolds Tobacco was the corporate co-chair of the International Relations Task Force of ALEC. ALEC has a trade resolution specifically targeting the European Union ban on Snus, a moist tobacco product often marketed to the young with fruit flavors. Reynolds produces Camel Snus in four flavors and is not happy that this dangerous product is banned in most of Europe. Note that ALEC maintains a list of "International Delegates," which are elected government officials around the world.

ALEC Resolution Text

Model Resolution

{Title, enacting clause, etc.}

WHEREAS United State's prosperity is tied to our participation in the global economy; and

WHEREAS the imposition of artificial barriers to free and open trade -- such as unilateral trade sanctions -- are deterrents to American economic interests; and

WHEREAS the imposition of unilateral trade sanctions on other nations puts American companies at a disadvantage against overseas competitors; and

WHEREAS unilateral trade sanctions are ineffective and cause others to question the reliability of both America and its companies, and in the long run, causes disruptions in the U.S. economy; and

WHEREAS it is the constitutional-vested role of the U.S. federal government to conduct American foreign policy, including the establishment of consistent ground rules for economic relationships with other countries; and

WHEREAS the effective U.S. foreign policy requires a broad range of political, strategic, diplomatic and economic tools not available to state and local government; and

WHEREAS the imposition of state and local unilateral trade sanctions are counter-productive and ineffective, having little or no impact on the sanctioned country but mainly impact U.S. companies, their employees, and the local economy; and

WHEREAS state and local sanctions adversely affect U.S. economic interests by stranding assets of U.S. companies operating in sanctioned countries; and

WHEREAS a report released by the presidents's export council shows that in 1995 alone, sanctions imposed by the U.S. government reduced our country's exports by $15 billion to $19 billion, translating to 200,000 to 250,000 jobs for U/S/ workers in the export sector; and

WHEREAS the policy of constructive engagement and dialogue are powerful tools for change leading to greater personal and political freedom; and

WHEREAS when sanctions are deemed appropriate, the United States should make every effort to do so multilaterally, not unilaterally.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the state and local government should not adopt unilateral sanctions as a foreign policy tool, instead encouraging American engagements as a key tool for promoting freedom and democracy abroad. States and localities should actively promote engagement at all level -- political, economic, charitable, religious.