HR 2589 IH
H. R. 2589
To prohibit certain activities in support of the Arab League boycott of Israel, and for other purposes.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 19, 2011
July 19, 2011
Mr. BERMAN introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs
To prohibit certain activities in support of the Arab League boycott of Israel, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘Antiboycott Act’.
SEC. 2. ANTIBOYCOTT PROVISIONS.
(a) Findings- The Congress finds that--
(1) the Arab League boycott of Israel, and the secondary boycott of United States firms that have commercial ties with Israel, are an impediment to investment, trade, economic development, and peace in the Middle East and North Africa;
(2) it is in the common interest of the people of Israel and the Arab states that the Arab League boycott be terminated, that the Central Office for the Boycott of Israel be closed, and that Arab League states normalize relations with their neighbor Israel; and
(3) the President, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Commerce should continue to vigorously oppose the Arab League boycott of Israel and use the authorities enacted into law by Congress to take concrete steps to seek an end to the Arab League boycott.
(b) Policy- It is the policy of the United States--
(1) to oppose restrictive trade practices or boycotts fostered or imposed by foreign countries against other countries friendly to the United States or against any United States person;
(2) to encourage and, in specified cases, require United States persons engaged in the export of goods or technology or other information to refuse to take actions, including furnishing information or entering into or implementing agreements, which have the effect of furthering or supporting the restrictive trade practices or boycotts fostered or imposed by any foreign country against a country friendly to the United States or against any United States person; and
(3) to foster international cooperation and the development of international rules and institutions to assure reasonable access to world supplies.
(c) Prohibitions and Exceptions-
(1) PROHIBITIONS- In order to carry out the purposes set forth in subsection (b), the Secretary of Commerce (in this Act referred to as the ‘Secretary’) shall issue regulations prohibiting any United States person, with respect to that person’s activities in the interstate or foreign commerce of the United States, from taking or knowingly agreeing to take any of the following actions with intent to comply with, further, or support any boycott fostered or imposed by a foreign country against a country that is friendly to the United States and is not itself the object of any form of boycott pursuant to United States law or regulation:
(A) Refusing, or requiring any other person to refuse, to do business with or in the boycotted country, with any business concern organized under the laws of the boycotted country, with any national or resident of the boycotted country, or with any other person, pursuant to an agreement with, or requirement of, or a request from or on behalf of the boycotting country. The mere absence of a business relationship with or in the boycotted country with any business concern organized under the laws of the boycotted country, with any national or resident of the boycotted country, or with any other person, does not indicate the existence of the intent required to establish a violation of regulations issued to carry out this subparagraph.
(B) Refusing, or requiring any other person to refuse, to employ or otherwise discriminate against any United States person on the basis of the race, religion, sex, or national origin of that person or of any owner, officer, director, or employee of such person.
(C) Furnishing information with respect to the race, religion, sex, or national origin of any United States person or of any owner, officer, director, or employee of such person.
(D) Furnishing information about whether any person has, has had, or proposes to have any business relationship (including a relationship by way of sale, purchase, legal or commercial representation, shipping or other transport, insurance, investment, or supply) with or in the boycotted country, with any business concern organized under the laws of the boycotted country, with any national or resident of the boycotted country, or with any other person which is known or believed to be restricted from having any business relationship with or in the boycotting country. Nothing in this subparagraph shall prohibit the furnishing of normal business information in a commercial context as defined by the Secretary.
(E) Furnishing information about whether any person is a member of, has made a contribution to, or is otherwise associated with or involved in the activities of any charitable or fraternal organization that supports the boycotted country.
(F) Paying, honoring, confirming, or otherwise implementing a letter of credit that contains any condition or requirement the compliance with which is prohibited by regulations issued pursuant to this paragraph, and no United States person shall, as a result of the application of this paragraph, be obligated to pay or otherwise honor or implement such letter of credit.
(2) EXCEPTIONS- Regulations issued pursuant to paragraph (1) may provide exceptions for--
(A) compliance, or agreement to comply, with requirements--
(i) prohibiting the import of items from the boycotted country or items produced or provided, by any business concern organized under the laws of the boycotted country or by nationals or residents of the boycotted country; or
(ii) prohibiting the shipment of items to the boycotting country on a carrier of the boycotted country or by a route other than that prescribed by the boycotting country or the recipient of the shipment;
(B) compliance, or agreement to comply, with import and shipping document requirements with respect to the country of origin, the name of the carrier and route of shipment, the name of the supplier of the shipment, or the name of the provider of other services, except that, for purposes of applying any exception under this subparagraph, no information knowingly furnished or conveyed in response to such requirements may be stated in negative, blacklisting, or similar exclusionary terms, other than with respect to carriers or route of shipment as may be permitted by such regulations in order to comply with precautionary requirements protecting against war risks and confiscation;
(C) compliance, or agreement to comply, in the normal course of business with the unilateral and specific selection by a boycotting country, or a national or resident thereof, of carriers, insurers, suppliers of services to be performed within the boycotting country, or specific items which, in the normal course of business, are identifiable by source when imported into the boycotting country;
(D) compliance, or agreement to comply, with export requirements of the boycotting country relating to shipment or transshipment of exports to the boycotted country, to any business concern of or organized under the laws of the boycotted country, or to any national or resident of the boycotted country;
(E) compliance by an individual, or agreement by an individual to comply, with the immigration or passport requirements of any country with respect to such individual or any member of such individual’s family or with requests for information regarding requirements of employment of such individual within the boycotting country; and
(F) compliance by a United States person resident in a foreign country, or agreement by such a person to comply, with the laws of the country with respect to the person’s activities exclusively therein, and such regulations may contain exceptions for such resident complying with the laws or regulations of the foreign country governing imports into such country of trademarked, trade-named, or similarly specifically identifiable products, or components of products for such person’s own use, including the performance of contractual services within that country.
(3) LIMITATION ON EXCEPTIONS- Regulations issued pursuant to paragraphs (2)(C) and (2)(F) shall not provide exceptions from paragraphs (1)(B) and (1)(C).
(4) ANTITRUST AND CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS NOT AFFECTED- Nothing in this subsection may be construed to supersede or limit the operation of the antitrust or civil rights laws of the United States.
(5) EVASION- This section applies to any transaction or activity undertaken by or through a United States person or any other person with intent to evade the provisions of this section or the regulations issued pursuant to this subsection. The regulations issued pursuant to this section shall expressly provide that the exceptions set forth in paragraph (2) do not permit activities or agreements (expressed or implied by a course of conduct, including a pattern of responses) otherwise prohibited, which are not within the intent of such exceptions.
(1) IN GENERAL- Regulations issued under this section shall require that any United States person receiving a request to furnish information, enter into or implement an agreement, or take any other action referred to in subsection (c) shall report that request to the Secretary, together with any other information concerning the request that the Secretary determines appropriate. The person shall also submit to the Secretary a statement regarding whether the person intends to comply, and whether the person has complied, with the request.
(2) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY OF REPORTS- Any report filed pursuant to this subsection shall be made available promptly for public inspection and copying, except that information regarding the quantity, description, and value of any item to which such report relates may be kept confidential if the Secretary determines that disclosure of that information would place the United States person involved at a competitive disadvantage.
(3) SUMMARIES TO SECRETARY OF STATE- The Secretary shall periodically transmit summaries of the information contained in the reports filed pursuant to this subsection to the Secretary of State for such action as the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary, considers appropriate to carry out the purposes set forth in subsection (b).
(e) Preemption- The provisions of this section and the regulations issued under this section shall preempt any law, rule, or regulation that--
(1) is a law, rule, or regulation of any of the several States or the District of Columbia, or any of the territories or possessions of the United States, or of any governmental subdivision thereof; and
(2) pertains to participation in, compliance with, implementation of, or the furnishing of information regarding restrictive trade practices or boycotts fostered or imposed by foreign countries against other countries.
(1) UNLAWFUL ACTS- It shall be unlawful for a person to violate, attempt to violate, conspire to violate, or cause a violation of this section or of any regulation or order issued under this section.
(2) CRIMINAL PENALTY- A person who, with knowledge or intent, commits, attempts to commit, or conspires to commit, or aids or abets in the commission of, an unlawful act described in subsection (c) shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than $1,000,000, or, if a natural person, be imprisoned for not more than 20 years, or both.
(3) CIVIL PENALTIES-
(A) AUTHORITY- The President may impose the following civil penalties on a person for each violation by that person of this section or any regulation or order issued under this section, for each violation:
(i) A fine of not more than $250,000.
(ii) A prohibition on the person’s ability to export any goods, technology, or services, whether or not a license has been issued previously to authorize such an export.
(B) PROCEDURES- Any civil penalty under this subsection may be imposed only after notice and opportunity for an agency hearing on the record in accordance with sections 554 through 557 of title 5, United States Code, and shall be subject to judicial review in accordance with chapter 7 of such title.
(C) STANDARDS FOR LEVELS OF CIVIL PENALTY- The President may by regulation provide standards for establishing levels of civil penalty under this paragraph based upon the seriousness of the violation, the culpability of the violator, and the violator’s record of cooperation with the Government in disclosing the violation.
(g) Annual Report- Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act and annually thereafter, the President shall report to the Congress on the implementation and enforcement of this section and on additional steps taken by the United States to bring about the termination of the Arab League boycott of Israel and to encourage Arab League states to normalize their relations with Israel.
(h) Definition- In this section, the term ‘United States person’--
(A) any United States resident or national;
(B) any domestic concern (including any permanent domestic establishment of any foreign concern); and
(C) any foreign subsidiary or affiliate (including any permanent foreign establishment) of any domestic concern that is controlled in fact by such domestic concern, as determined under regulations of the President; but
(2) does not include an individual resident outside the United States who is employed by a person other than a person described in paragraph (1).