Do US sanctions create positive economic impact on countries?

Golam Rabbani

Published: December 10, 2023, 01:18 AM

Do US sanctions create positive economic impact on countries?

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Former US President John F. Kennedy bought and stocked about 1200 Cuban cigarettes before imposing sanction on Cuba in 1963, so that he would not run out of his favorite Cuban cigarettes. 

So the question is why does the US impose sanctions on the countries even if they use products of these countries. And how useful the restrictions are really?

What is the US ban?

There are basically two types of sanctions the US imposes. One is to completely stop import-export or trade with a country and second is to ban the import-export of certain goods or services. 

The US uses trade and economic sanctions as a means of protecting its diplomatic and political interests around the world. The US Office of Foreign Assets Control works to impose and enforce economic sanctions against various countries and entities. This office is under the US Treasury Department.

In 1950, when China became involved in the Korean War, the US government established the Office of Foreign Assets Control. At that time, Harry Truman blocked the trade of Chinese and Korean assets held by the US.

According to the website of the US State Department, the United States has various economic and commercial sanctions on more than 20 countries. These countries include – Myanmar, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Belarus, Russia, Zimbabwe, Syria.

An article in the US-based world-renowned magazine Foreign Policy, in 2021, Joe Biden imposed 765 sanctions around the world in the first year after he became the president of the United States. Of these, 173 sanctions have been imposed on allegations of human rights violations.

From which time the sanctions continued

The US has imposed sanctions on various countries for various reasons. In 2003, the United States imposed sanctions on some Zimbabwean individuals and institutions. The ban was imposed on allegations of contempt for Zimbabwe‍‍`s democratic process. However, trade relations with Zimbabwe as a state were not completely prohibited.

Since 1963, the United States has imposed various types of sanctions on the Latin American country Cuba, one of which is the trade embargo. In 2000, the US eased the embargo and allowed the export of medical supplies and agricultural products to Cuba.

In October 2020, the United States imposed a ban on foreign currency transactions by entities linked to the Cuban military.

America has various sanctions on Venezuela, another Latin American country. Some sanctions are already in place to weaken the country‍‍`s government.

There are various types of sanctions imposed by the US on Iran since 1979. Iran‍‍`s economy has suffered greatly due to sanctions. However, many believe that Iran has adapted to the situation due to decades of sanctions.

US has trade embargo on North Korea. This resulted in a ban on import-export and investment with North Korea.

How effective the sanction is?

There is much debate about the effectiveness of US trade restrictions. Agathi Demarais, global forecasting director of the Economist Intelligence Unit, told US news outlet NPR in April this year that trade sanctions either work quickly or they don‍‍`t work at all.

Demarais also said that the ban is a big blow to the country‍‍`s economy. 

"If it is a small economy country then two things can happen. They may quickly overcome the crisis with the US, or try to adapt to the new reality of sanctions," she added. 

Moreover, many countries have surrendered to US sanctions. Sanctions are more effective in countries with which the US has greater economic and trade ties.

The sanctions are not very effective in countries with which the US has no economic and trade relations. In Afghanistan, the ban was imposed exactly when the Taliban government came to power. However, due to the Taliban government‍‍`s business policies and various measures, on the contrary, they are moving towards a positive economy.

All in all, it can be said that the sanctions have a stronger impact on countries that are dependent on the United States and have more trade relations for various reasons.

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