[U.S. Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C.
July 26, 1999]

Statement by Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman
On New Regulations Providing Sanctions Relief for Agriculture

President Clinton's announcement that the U.S. Department of the Treasury has amended regulations to permit commercial sales of agricultural products on a case-by-case basis to Iran, Libya, and Sudan is a significant change in U.S. unilateral economic sanctions policy, and it has important implications for American agriculture.

This policy supports two basic principles: a humanitarian principle that basics, such as food and medicine, should not be used as a tool of foreign policy; and an economic principle that our sanctions policy should not impose undue burdens on our farmers and ranchers.

Farmers in this country know that we are committed to the expansion of U.S. agricultural export opportunities and that we will not restrict exports except in the most compelling circumstances. American agricultural export shares in sanctioned markets are frequently captured by our global competitors. While this new policy does not mean automatic approval of agricultural sales, it places the presumption on the side of approval and gives U.S. producers and exporters an opportunity to compete in more markets.

With farm prices still low and global demand still soft, this action could not have come at a better time. Our farmers are hurting, and they deserve every opportunity to reach out to as many potential consumers as possible around the world. American farmers produce the very best food that the world has to offer, and we cannot afford to handicap them by ceding potentially lucrative markets to our global competitors.

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