The American Chamber of Commerce of Nicaragua (AmCham) is taking measures to prevent the US government from placing economic sanctions on the country similar to those targeting the Venezuelan regime of Nicolás Maduro, which affected both high-standing officials and its oil trade.
In order to prevent or at least soften similar economic sanctions, AmCham hired the US consulting firm Carmen Group Incorporated “to take due steps” with the US Congress and Trump administration so that measures “not be applied to our country, which would affect investment and trade with the United States.”
The US is Nicaragua’s main trading partner, the organization said in a statement.
AmCham is reportedly in a hurry to settle the issue, because investment conditions with the United States — H.R. 1918, also known as the Nica Act — will be discussed Tuesday, October 3.
“The Nica Act is as good as approved,” Bosco Noguera, who currently serves as Secretary of the Amcham board of directors, said. “The main focus is to avoid economic sanctions beyond of the Nica Act, such as those applied to Venezuela. We are talking about economic prohibitions that prevent any American citizen or company from dealing with certain economic agents.”
He added: “We have been told directly in the United States: ‘there are stronger sanctions than you think.’ So what is being pursued in AmCham is that the Nica Act not serve as a platform that leads to further sanctions, and we must do everything in our scope, as a private sector, to avoid breaking trade with the United States.”
— AmCham Nicaragua (@AmChamNicaragua) September 30, 2017
AmCham said there have been several warning signs that the US could impose stronger sanctions, including a warning from the US Embassy’s financial adviser in Managua, William Muntean, that officials should be careful about doing business with Alba of Nicaragua S.A. (Albanisa).
Roberto Sansón, former President of AmCham, said that “Nicaragua has become a sensitive issue” for the United States, because the regime led by Daniel Ortega “sympathizes with and supports the Venezuelan (government). Many officials in Washington do not necessarily understand the impact that measures like these would have, and punishing a country for a political affiliation could destabilize them.”