How many of these firms have been making money in a repressive state on the backs of poorly paid migrant workers?
A group of U.S. companies that do business in Libya is asking the Treasury Department to take measures to protect them despite wide-ranging sanctions announced by President Barack Obama last week.
National Foreign Trade Council President William Reinsch wrote a letter on March 1 to Adam Szubin, the head of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), asking for several clarifications on how the Libya sanctions will be implemented and whether U.S. companies will be able to protect their assets there and keep paying their local employees. In the letter, obtained by The Cable, Reinsch also said he represents the U.S.-Libya Business Association, which is composed of U.S. businesses dealing with the Libyan government.
“While U.S. companies have evacuated most or all of their expatriate employees from Libya, numerous Libyan nationals and others remain in Libya and continue to maintain the operations and facilities of the companies to the extent permissible,” Reinsch wrote, noting that American companies “seek authorization to provide for the continued safety, welfare, and support of their employees and contractors by paying their salaries and for other routine taxes, fees, benefits, goods and services associated with their employment.”
The companies want to be able to send money to their Libyan bank accounts, which would then be used to pay salaries, income taxes, social security taxes, telecommunications bills, residential lease payments, and many other day-to-day expenses that require giving money to the Libyan government, although not directly to the Qaddafi family.