- The Washington Times - Friday, August 3, 2001

Human rights groups have hit a wall in their efforts to use access to U.S. capital markets to force change in Sudan and other countries that are already the target of trade and investment boycotts.
Legislation pushed by the activists, which would close American stock exchanges to foreign companies that invest in Sudan, is in deep trouble as a result of heavy lobbying from Wall Street.
After initially shrugging off a House vote in favor of the Sudan Peace Act, the Bush administration, working with financial services firms, now seems determined to kill the sanctions included in the bill, according to internal administration documents and industry lobbyists.
Roger Robinson, chairman of the William J. Casey Institute, which has lobbied hard for the bill, wrote fellow activists by e-mail this week that the sanctions "may fall victim to this coordinated political onslaught."
The Casey Institute, part of the Washington-based Center for Security Policy, has financed a study on the relationship between capital markets and U.S. foreign policy.
Michael Horowitz, a former Reagan administration official also involved in the fight, said that Wall Street was succeeding in defeating the sanctions, but predicted the rest of the bill would pass.
"The administration has heard from a well-heeled [Wall Street] lobby," Mr. Horowitz said, "and they are responding."
In June, the House voted 422-2 in favor of a bill designed to increase the pressure on Sudan's fundamentalist government, which is waging a war against Christian separatists that has claimed 2 million lives and resulted in numerous atrocities against civilians.
Most of the bill provides aid to affected groups in Sudan. But the House specified that no foreign company should be allowed to raise money in the United States, or continue an existing public listing. If enacted, the bill would oust China's PetroChina, and other firms of France, Canada and Qatar, from the New York Stock Exchange.
The Senate has passed a version of the bill without the sanctions.
American companies are already barred from trading with or investing in Sudan by presidential executive orders.
House passage of the legislation marked a success for the guerrilla-style campaign that conservative activists and religious groups have mounted against foreign companies they say threaten U.S. security or support governments that persecute Christians.
Last year, they scored their biggest victory when PetroChina raised $2.9 billion in an initial public offering in New York, one-third of the amount it hoped to collect.
The Bush administration, which has thus far not weighed in on the Sudan legislation, is preparing to lobby against the sanctions, according to draft talking points obtained by The Washington Times.
The document also stresses that European countries, which have chafed at "unilateral" American sanctions, would also object to the sanctions in the Sudan Peace Act.
"We are concerned that the imposition of the sanctions and restrictions on capital markets at this time will not advance the search for peace, will exacerbate our problems with the Europeans, and will complicate [diplomatic] efforts," the document states.
It adds that the administration will "shortly" appoint a "special envoy" to try to bring peace to Sudan.
The talking points do not specify that the administration would back other parts of the bill.
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan also weighed in on the legislation in unusually blunt terms during congressional testimony last week.
"The clear outcome of such a law would effectively be to move financing from New York to London," Mr. Greenspan said. "[I]f we move in directions which undermine our financial capacity, we are undermining potential long-term growth of the American economy."

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