Our government (sigh) has lowered themselves in my eyes even lower - I know! Really? Lower? To learn that our government gives licenses to companies/corporations to do sells their goods in places like - wait for it - Iran, even while posturing and frothing at the mouth about embargoes takes the trophy to chief action of hypocrisy, duplicity and greed yet. I came across an article in the NYT that has left me aggravated and exasperated. Here are a few snippets from the article which is located here. This is the stuff of current case studies for business ethics which reveals way too often that all (ethics) will be sacrificed under the guise of "increasing shareholder value" which is PC language for "increase profits".
Despite sanctions and trade embargoes, over the past decade the United States government has allowed American companies to do billions of dollars in business with Iran and other countries blacklisted as state sponsors of terrorism, an examination by The New York Times has found.
At the behest of a host of companies — from Kraft Food and Pepsi to some of the nation’s largest banks — a little-known office of the Treasury Department has granted nearly 10,000 licenses for deals involving countries that have been cast into economic purgatory, beyond the reach of American business.
Most of the licenses were approved under a decade-old law mandating that agricultural and medical humanitarian aid be exempted from sanctions. But the law, pushed by the farm lobby and other industry groups, was written so broadly that allowable humanitarian aid has included cigarettes, Wrigley’s gum,
In one instance, an American company was permitted to bid on a pipeline job that would have helped
In an interview, the Obama administration’s point man on sanctions, Stuart A. Levey, said that focusing on the exceptions “misses the forest for the trees.” Indeed, the exceptions represent only a small counterweight to the overall force of
“No one can doubt that we are serious about this,” Mr. Levey said. [2 cents: I do! LOL]
Beyond that, he and the licensing office’s director, Adam Szubin, said the agency’s other, case-by-case, determinations often reflected a desire to balance sanctions policy against the realities of the business world, where companies may unwittingly find themselves in transactions involving blacklisted entities.
“I haven’t seen any licenses that I thought we should have done differently,” Mr. Szubin said.
The law defined allowable agricultural exports as any product on a list maintained by the Agriculture Department, which went beyond traditional humanitarian aid like seed and grain and included products like beer, soda, utility poles and more loosely defined categories of “food commodities” and “food additives.”
Even before the law’s final passage, companies and their lobbyists inundated the licensing office with claims that their products fit the bill.
Take, for instance, chewing gum, sold in a number of blacklisted countries by Mars Inc., which owns Wrigley’s. “We debated that one for a month. Was it food? Did it have nutritional value? We concluded it did,” Hal Eren, a former senior sanctions adviser at the licensing office, recalled before pausing and conceding, “We were probably rolled on that issue by outside forces.”
In response to questions for this article, companies argued that they were operating in full accordance with American law.
Henry Lapidos, export manager for the American Pop Corn Company, acknowledged that calling the Jolly Time popcorn he sold in
GE fears news will come out and look bad on them so they take a pre-emptive move:
But if the government has sometimes been willing to grant American businesses a break, some companies have recently decided that the cost to their reputations outweighs the potential profit.
General Electric, which has been one of the leading recipients of licenses, says it has stopped all but humanitarian business in countries listed as sponsors of terrorism and has promised to donate its profits from
Good business ethics example:
“I’m an American,” he said. “Even though it’s legal to sell that type of product, I didn’t want to have any trade with a country like