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Congressional Body to Hold Hearings on Strengthening Anti-Boycott Laws

Chairman Thomas L. Ashley of the House Subcommittee on International Trade made known today that his subcommittee will hold hearings this session on proposals to strengthen U.S. anti-boycott laws because of the continued impact of the Arab boycott on American firms trading with Israel.

One ranking Republican member of the subcommittee, Rep. Seymour Halpern, of New York, meanwhile revealed that he would seek mandatory wording to expressly prohibit the intrusion of the boycott into American commerce. Rep. Halpern said that evidence indicates that the present law "falls short of prohibiting the boycott and leaves loopholes which the Arabs are exploiting in the most brazen manner to intimidate U.S. concerns." Rep. Halpern and Rep. Fernand St. Germain, Rhode Island Democrat who also serves on the subcommittee, welcomed the decision of the chairman to conduct hearings.

Chairman John Sparkman of the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency has so far failed to respond to a request by Senators Jacob K. Javits, New York Republican, and Harrison A. Williams, Jr., New Jersey Democrat, for Senate hearings on the boycott.

Rep. Halpern introduced a resolution in the House earlier this session calling for hearings to "study the effectiveness of present law in protecting United States trade and businesses against adverse effects from restrictive trade practices or boycotts fostered or imposed by foreign countries against other countries (such as Israel) friendly to the United States and shall make such recommendations as it may deem necessary to protect U.S. businesses and trades against adverse effect of such boycotts." The resolution noted that "there is increasing evidence that the provisions (of the present law) have failed to safeguard American business and commercial interests against the adverse impact of such restrictive trade practices or boycotts."

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