Friday, May 18, 2007

Office of Antiboycott Compliance

I just discovered that the U.S. government has an Office of Antiboycott Compliance. It's main objective:
"The antiboycott laws were adopted to encourage, and in specified cases, require U.S. firms to refuse to participate in foreign boycotts that the United States does not sanction. They have the effect of preventing U.S. firms from being used to implement foreign policies of other nations which run counter to U.S. policy.

"The Arab League boycott of Israel is the principal foreign economic boycott that U.S. companies must be concerned with today. The antiboycott laws, however, apply to all boycotts imposed by foreign countries that are unsanctioned by the United States.

"The antiboycott provisions of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) apply to all "U.S. persons," defined to include individuals and companies located in the United States and their foreign affiliates. These persons are subject to the law when their activities relate to the sale, purchase, or transfer of goods or services (including information) within the United States or between the U.S. and a foreign country. This covers U.S. exports and imports, financing, forwarding and shipping, and certain other transactions that may take place wholly offshore.

"Generally, the TRA applies to all U.S. taxpayers (and their related companies). The TRA's reporting requirements apply to taxpayers' 'operations' in, with, or related to boycotting countries or their nationals. Its penalties apply to those taxpayers with foreign tax credit, foreign subsidiary deferral, FSC (Foreign Sales Corporation), and IC-DISC (Interest Charge-Domestic International Sales Corporation) benefits."

I guess it's good that our businesses have some cover if they don't want to participate in a boycott, but if I'm reading this right, a U.S. business cannot voluntarily choose to boycott Israel if it so desires.



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