Laying out a new U.S. policy to oppose restrictive trade practices or boycotts targeting U.S. allies and citizens, this bill would prohibit U.S. citizens from “knowingly” taking any of a series of specified actions in support of such a practice or boycott. The specified actions included refusing to do business with a person or company organized in a country friendly with the U.S. and refusing to employ persons originating from such countries, inter alia. Violations of this ban would be punishable with fines up no more than five times the value of the transaction or $1,000,000, whichever is higher, and as many as 10 years in prison, depending on the circumstances and intent of the perpetrator. Furthermore, any institution of higher education found to be knowingly supporting a boycott or restrictive trade practice targeting a U.S. ally would be blocked from receiving federal funding. The secretary of commerce would be permitted to waive this provision. Finally, any person who suffers damages as a result of a violation of the aforementioned ban would be permitted to bring an action in U.S. district court.
In terms of oversight, the secretary of commerce would be required to report annually to Congress a list of each person participating in a commercial boycott against a U.S. ally and each institution of higher education that participated in an academic boycott.
Although this bill did not specifically name the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, its provisions were designed to undermine the movement’s most successful strategies.