Economic Sanctions Laws In Question Following Ruling

"Far-reaching implications." That's the judgment of the National Chamber Litigation Center (NCLC), Washington, D.C., to the June 19 U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down Massachusetts' so-called "Burma law." A unanimous court found that the law, which effectively barred companies that were doing business with Myanmar (Burma) from also doing business with the state, unconstitutionally infringed upon the federal government's authority over foreign affairs and discriminated against foreign commerce. The case was brought by the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) a 550-member, Washington, D.C.-based pro-trade organization of manufacturers and financial firms. "The NFTC filed its suit because of concerns among U.S. businesses and agriculture that the mounting patchwork of state and local sanctions was threatening to seriously hurt U.S. interests -- while at the same time threatening a coherent U.S. foreign policy," explains Frank Kittridge, NFTC's president. "Over 30 sub-federal sanctions laws are now on the books in states and cities across America. It is time for those jurisdictions to begin the process of rescinding those measures." Massachusetts instituted the law in response to known human rights abuses in Myanmar.

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