The American Soybean Association (ASA) is urging the U.S. House to maintain the economic sanctions reform provisions included by Reps. George Nethercutt, R-WA and Jo Ann Emerson, R-MO, and approved by the House Appropriations Committee.

The full House is expected to consider the FY 2001 agricultural appropriations bill. Similar provisions, sponsored by Sen. John Ashcroft, R-MO, are included in the Senate agricultural appropriations bill.

"It is time to end this four-decades long nightmare of unilateral economic sanctions that have denied U.S. farmers access to export markets," said ASA President Marc Curtis, Leland, MS. "ASA urges members of the House to make the right decision and support trade sanctions reforms that will benefit U.S. soybean producers and the agriculture industry."

ASA has worked closely with agricultural lawmakers in crafting the "Food and Medicine of the World" legislation, which goes before the full House. The legislation would exempt U.S. exports of agricultural commodities and medical products from current and future unilateral economic sanctions, unless Congress approves within 60 days a decision by the President to impose sanctions.

ASA leaders have testified before U.S. House and Senate Agriculture Committees about the damaging effects of economic sanctions. U.S. farmers have been denied access to multi-billion dollar markets because of trade restrictions on exports to countries such as Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, and Sudan. An ASA report in 1998, determined than restrictions on exports to those six countries totaled $554 million annually for soybeans and soy products.

ASA has strongly supported sanctions reform and worked with many members of Congress to urge approval of the legislation that would help restore the United States as a reliable supplier of food and agricultural products to many countries.

"The U.S. government must end the economic sanctions that it has used against other countries so often in the past, or U.S. farmers will continue to be hurt by the inability to trade with countries that greatly need our exports," said Curtis.

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