Antiboycott Compliance
by Molly MacDonald


U.S. persons and companies are encouraged, and sometimes required, to refuse to participate in foreign boycotts that are not endorsed by the United States government. Since the antiboycott laws (originally passed as the 1977 amendment to the Export Administration Act and the Ribicoff Amendment to the 1976 Tax Reform Act) were created, the primary focus has been the Arab League boycott of the state of Israel. Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen have all been determined by the U.S. government to currently require participation in the boycott of Israel. While the Israeli boycott has been the main focus in terms of enforcement, the antiboycott laws apply to all foreign boycotts that the U.S. government have not endorsed.


A U.S. person or company should not conduct any business with any company that inquires about their business dealings with Israel or national/residents of Israel. Any inquiry of this nature that has no bearing on normal business information may be a violation of the U.S. antiboycott law, including inquiries that have not been responded to. Agreements to refuse to do business with Israel or to disclose the company's business relationships with Israel are examples of prohibited conduct under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).


The EAR requires quarterly reports to be filed by companies detailing requests they have received asking them to take part in an unsanctioned foreign boycott. Any violation must be reported to the U.S. Department of Commerce - Office of Antiboycott Compliance. Penalties can be both criminal and administrative and include jail time, fines, and denial of export privileges.

 

 

 

 
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