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John Kerry: Israel Boycott Calls Dubai Ports Deal Further Into Question

by Pamela Leavey

According to a story in today’s Jerusalem Post, The Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, an entity wholly owned by the Government of Dubai and the parent company of Dubai Ports World, participates in the Arab League boycott of Israel.

Below is a statement from Senator John Kerry on this story:

“The Administration’s mismanaged and misguided debacle of a ports deal has just gotten even worse. Not only did they skip the required national security investigation, now we learn that the parent company of Dubai Ports World actively participates in the Arab boycott of Israel. This boycott not only violates at least the spirit of U.S. law, it is inconsistent with everything we believe in as Americans. We should not be rewarding companies that support discrimination against our key strategic ally and the Middle East’s only democracy.

“It would be absolutely outrageous if the Administration allows this deal to close before Congress has a chance to closely review all of these issues.”

The Government of Dubai’s holding company called the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCZC), consists of the Dubai Port Authority, the Dubai Customs Department and the Jebel Ali Free Zone Area.

Jerusalem Post further reports that “Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone Area, which is also part of the PCZC, advises importers that they will need to comply with the terms of the boycott.”

In a section entitled “Frequently Asked Questions”, the site lists six documents that are required in order to clear an item through the Dubai Customs Department. One of them, called a “Certificate of Origin,” “is used by customs to confirm the country of origin and needs to be seen by the office which ensures any trade boycotts are enforced,” according to the website.

A-Din of the Israel boycott office confirmed that his office examines certificates of origin as a means of verifying whether a product originated in the Jewish state.

On at least three separate occasions last year, the Post has learned, companies were fined by the US government’s Office of Anti-boycott Compliance, an arm of the Commerce Department, on charges connected to boycott-related requests they had received from the Government of Dubai.

US law bars firms from complying with such requests or cooperating with attempts by Arab governments to boycott Israel.

In one instance, according to a Commerce Department press release, a New York-based exporter agreed to pay a fine for having “failed to report in a timely manner its receipts of requests from Dubai” to provide certification that its products had not been made in Israel.

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