Ag & Industry Groups Support Strong Humanitarian Exemption in Sanctions Legislation

FCNL is opposed to all broad, indiscriminate sanctions against Iran, but we also work with a wide coalition of organizations that take a variety of stances on Iran sanctions. Below are letters from agriculture and industry groups calling for explicit humanitarian exemptions to be maintained in any Iran sanctions legislation, which may be at risk if the Kirk/Sherman amendment is added to the pending sanctions legislation (S 2101).

American Farm Bureau Federation

"The Farm Bureau is the unified national voice of agriculture, working through our grassroots organizations to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans and to build strong, prosperous agricultural communities."

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"In order to continue the U.S. policy of making agricultural commodities available as humanitarian exports, Farm Bureau encourages the continued use of a general license for exports of humanitarian goods. For these transactions to occur, clear direction must be given to global financial institutions that financing humanitarian sales will not place them in violation of U.S. sanctions regulations.

Farm Bureau requests that the explicit humanitarian exemptions for U.S. agricultural commodities be maintained in any sanctions legislation against Iran. The sanctions program must ensure that the food and fiber our farmers and ranchers produce remain a core component of the humanitarian relief for the citizens of the sanctioned nation."

U.S. Dairy Export Council

"The U.S. Dairy Export Council is a non-profit, independent membership organization that represents the global trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders."

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"...USDEC believes it is critical to ensure that any sanctions-related legislation contains clearly stated exemptions for humanitarian exports that relate not only to the permission to send these products themselves, but also to the financial transactions that allow such sales to take place. Without this, it is likely that the export of humanitarian goods will not be able to occur since banks require very clear direction on this matter in order to ensure that permitting the financial transactions related to humanitarian exports will not risk placing them in violation of any U.S. sanctions regulations."

National Grain and Feed Association & North American Export Grain Association

"The National Grain and Feed Association, founded in 1896, is a broad-based, non-profit trade association that represents and provides services for grain, feed and related commercial businesses."

"The North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA), a not for profit trade association, established in 1912, consists of private and publicly owned companies and farmer-owned cooperatives that are involved in and provide services to the bulk grain and oilseed exporting industry."

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"Allowing the continued export of U.S. grains and oilseeds within the rubric of U.S. foreign policy-related sanctions is a critical element in maintaining the United States’ reputation as a preferred and reliable provider around the world. Making grains and oilseeds available as humanitarian exports is necessary particularly in these times of heightened concern within net food-importing countries over food security."

National Association of Manufacturers

"The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the nation’s largest industrial trade association, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturers in the U.S. produce and export a range of goods intended for humanitarian trade, from life-saving pharmaceuticals to diapers and bandages."

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"As Congressional consideration of sanctions proceeds, we respectfully request that strong and explicit humanitarian exemptions for licensed exports be maintained with respect to product coverage as well as the necessary financial transactions related to this trade. It is imperative that any sanctions legislation contain a clear and comprehensive humanitarian exemption to the recommended sanctions on SWIFT messaging for financial transactions.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) messaging service is the dominant communication mechanism for international financial transactions. SWIFT transmits an average of 17 million financial messages a day, facilitating trillions of dollars in cross-border payments. Without SWIFT messaging, there can be no financial transactions. Without financial transactions, there can be no licensed humanitarian trade."

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