Washington, DC – In a major policy shift, the US Chamber of Commerce (USCOC) and National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), two of the largest business groups in the US, have publicly come out in opposition to the sanctions imposed by the White House on Russia following that country’s February military incursion into neighboring Ukraine.
The groups ran newspaper advertisements last week in several publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, asserting that “the only effect” of additional sanctions would be “to bar US companies from foreign markets and cede business opportunities to firms from other countries.”
Both groups had, previously, confined their opposition to the sanctions in a series of private meetings with Obama Administration officials.
The ads ran under the headline, “America’s Interests Are at Stake in Russia and Ukraine“.
Its text read: “With escalating global tensions, some US policymakers are considering a course of sanctions that history shows hurts American interests. We are concerned about actions that would harm American manufacturers and cost American jobs. The most effective long-term solution to increase Americas global influence is to strengthen our ability to provide goods and services to the world through pro-trade policies and multilateral diplomacy.”
Jay Timmons, NAM president and CEO, wrote, “History shows that unilateral sanctions don’t work. President Reagan recognized this reality three decades ago when he lifted the ineffective grin embargo on the Soviet Union.”
The only effect of such sanctions, Timmons said, “is to bar US companies from foreign markets and cede business opportunities to firms from other countries. It’s time to put American jobs and growth first.”
US workers and industries, wrote USCOC President and CEO, Thomas J. Donohue, “pay the cost of unilateral economic sanctions that have little hope of increasing the United States ability to achieve its foreign policy goals.”
Both the US and European Union have imposed penalties against Russian companies, as well Ukrainian supporters of the separatists with Russian President Vladimir Putin threatening to retaliate against US and European companies if broader sanctions are imposed.
US officials have said that the current sanctions now in place have fueled a record $60 billion capital outflow in the first quarter of this year, as well as losses in Russia’s stock market and currency.
The Ukrainian government, the US and its European Union allies say Russia is fueling the conflict by providing manpower and weapons including tanks and anti-aircraft missiles to separatist rebels in Ukraine.