US approved biz with blacklisted nations: report | business | Hindustan Times
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US approved biz with blacklisted nations: report

Despite sanctions and trade embargoes, over the past decade the US government has allowed American companies to do billions of dollars in business with Iran and other countries blacklisted as state sponsors of terrorism, an examination by The New York Times has found.

business Updated: Dec 24, 2010 20:41 IST

Despite sanctions and trade embargoes, over the past decade the US government has allowed American companies to do billions of dollars in business with Iran and other countries blacklisted as state sponsors of terrorism, an examination by The New York Times has found.

At the behest of a host of companies — from Kraft Food and Pepsi to some of the nation’s largest banks — a little-known office of the Treasury Department has granted nearly 10,000 licenses for deals involving countries that have been cast into economic purgatoryby the US government.

Most of the licenses were approved under a decade-old law mandating that agricultural and medical humanitarian aid be exempted from sanctions. But the law, pushed by the farm lobby and other industry groups, was written so broadly that allowable humanitarian aid has included cigarettes, Wrigley’s gum, Louisiana hot sauce, weight-loss remedies.

Stuart A. Levey, the Obama administration’s point man on sanctions, said that focusing on the exceptions “misses the forest for the trees.” Indeed, the exceptions represent only a small counterweight to the overall force of America’s trade sanctions.