Congress would have to agree to any unilateral U.S. embargoes on food and medicine - a major change in policy - under a proposal adopted by the Senate last week.
The proposal would add impetus to an overhaul of U.S. trade sanctions. They usually are set by presidential decree although Congress has set some by law. With the recent easing in U.S. sanctions on Iran, Libya and Sudan, farm-state attention has shifted to the possibility of wider trade with Cuba. Stringent limits are set on sales now.''When the United States uses food as a diplomatic weapon, it takes away from our farmers their ability to sell their product,'' said Sen. John Ashcroft, R-Mo., sponsor of the amendment.
Opponents say the amendment plays into the hands of totalitarian regimes and won't bring any noteworthy increase in U.S. farm exports.