U.S. Trade Bill With EU Includes Landmark anti-BDS Provisions

Obama signs Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) into law, leverages Europe's desire for free trade with U.S. to block 'politically motivated' boycotts of Israel.

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US President Barack Obama signs Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015. June 29, 2015.
US President Barack Obama signs Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015. June 29, 2015.Credit: AFP

U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday signed into law the fast track trade bill – known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – that also contains landmark legislation combating the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in Europe.

“We still have some tough negotiations that are going to be taking place,” Obama said at a signing ceremony. “The debate will not end with this bill signing.”

The Trade Promotion Authority legislation also contained the anti-BDS provisions, which will discourage European governments from participating in BDS activities by leveraging the incentive of free trade with the United States. 

The amendment mentions specifically “politically motivated actions to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel and to seek the elimination of politically motivated nontariff barriers on Israeli goods, services, or other commerce imposed on the State of Israel.” It also seeks “the elimination of state-sponsored unsanctioned foreign boycotts against Israel or compliance with the Arab League boycott of Israel by prospective trading partners.”

“This is an historic milestone in the fight against Israel’s enemies, as American opposition to insidious efforts to demonize and isolate the Jewish state is now the law of the land,” Rep. Peter Roskam, a co-sponsor of one of two anti-BDS provisions in the law, said when the bill was approved in Congress.

 “This will force companies like telecom giant Orange, which is partially owned by the French government, to think twice before engaging in economic warfare against Israel. No longer will these companies be able to freely attack a key U.S. ally without consequence,” he said.

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