NEW YORK (Feb. 24)
A report that all Arab states except Iraq have dropped requirements for so-called “negative certificates of origin” for goods imported from the United States was welcomed today by the American Jewish Congress as “an encouraging indication of progress in the fight against the Arab boycott.” But Naomi Levine, executive director of the AJ Congress, criticized a warning by a Saudi Arabian spokesman that the new policy could be scrapped if there were stringent new American anti-boycott legislation.
“The abandonment of the negative certificate of origin augurs well for quick passage of a strong and effective anti-boycott law which, among other things, would prohibit the use of such certificates.” Mrs. Levine said, adding: “If the Arab states no longer require negative certificates, why should they object if the law prohibits them?”
Arnold Forster, general counsel of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, cautioned that the move by the Arab states may signify an effort on their part to try to soften Congressional opposition to the boycott and to try to convince Congressmen to hold off on voting in favor of anti-boycott legislation now pending in both houses of Congress.
The report of the dropping of the requirement was published by the Journal of Commerce in New York based on information that the U.S. Arab Chamber of Commerce. Inc. of New York was circularizing its members to that effect. A negative certificate of origin is a document filed by American suppliers at the request of Arab customers attesting that the goods are not of Israeli origin and do not contain components made in Israel.
The U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce, Inc of New York, disclosed last week that it was informing freight forwarders, shippers and other firms involved in U.S.-Arab trade, as well as its own members, that negative certificates of origin were no longer required. The move follows agreement by ministers of the 20-nation Arab League, except for Iraq’s representative, the AJ Congress reported.