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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 26, 1999


Implementing Humanitarian Exemptions from Sanctions

Today, the President announced the release of the Treasury Department's regulations implementing the Administration's new humanitarian-based food and medicine sanctions policy. On April 28th, the President announced that the United States would exempt commercial sales of agricultural commodities and products, as well as medicine and medical equipment from future unilateral Executive Branch economic sanctions regimes, unless he determines that our national interest requires otherwise. Further, the President announced we would extend this policy to existing sanctions regimes, where we have discretion to do so, by modifying licensing policies to permit case-by-case review of specific proposals.

The regulations released today implement the President's policy with respect to existing sanctions regimes. In crafting these regulations, the Administration has been guided by the humanitarian considerations underlying the policy change. The Administration has also sought to avoid an overly burdensome system for U.S. agricultural exporters. These decisions should provide U.S. farmers and businesses with a significant measure of predictability and enhance their ability to establish markets in every corner of the globe.

The release of regulations codifies the principle that U.S. commercial exports of food should not be denied to importing countries absent compelling circumstances. While retaining Presidential authority to implement appropriate exceptions, the regulations seek to avoid adverse humanitarian effects from sanctions.

The Administration will continue to ensure that our sanctions policy furthers our foreign policy goals. We will pursue actions that send a strong message abroad, without ignoring the real needs of those here at home.

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