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Dubai’ bill targets boycott

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A bill passed by Congress that creates greater oversight of foreign investment in the United States calls for scrutiny of companies cooperating with the Arab boycott.

The Foreign Investment and National Security Act is also known as the “Dubai ports bill” because it was inspired in part by the controversy in 2006 over the Bush administration’s decision to sell control of some U.S. ports to a company based in the United Arab Emirates.

Much of the controversy concerned fears about the possibility of infiltration into ports management by Al-Qaeda or other groups, but the UAE’s nominal adherence to the Arab League boycott of Israel also sparked anger.

The bill, initiated by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), mandates the secretaries of state, treasury and commerce to report on U.S. investments by “foreign governments, entities controlled by or acting on behalf of a foreign government, or persons of foreign countries which comply with any boycott of Israel” and “foreign governments, entities controlled by or acting on behalf of a foreign government, or persons of foreign countries which do not ban organizations designated by the secretary of state as foreign terrorist organizations.”

The bill’s final reading passed the U.S. House of Representatives this week and it now goes to President Bush for signing.

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