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White House Grants Partial Waiver to Syria Relative to Trafficking Victims Protection Act

5:56 PM, Sep 17, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
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The White House released a Presidential Memorandum today entitled "Presidential Determination on Traficking [sic] in Persons."  The memo relates to funding provided or denied to foreign governments in accordance with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.  According to the memo, the U.S. is required:

not to provide certain funding for those countries' governments ... until such governments comply with the minimum standards or make significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance [with standards in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.]

However, the details of the president's memo reveal certain waivers or other adjustments that are granted by presidential discretion, if he determines continued funding is in the best interests of the United States.  Syria is one such country that is granted a partial waiver to some of the funding restrictions for fiscal 2014, including those for "educational and cultural exchange programs":

Determine, consistent with section 110(d)(4) of the Act, with respect to Syria and Eritrea, that a partial waiver to allow funding for educational and cultural exchange programs described in section 110(d)(1)(A)(ii) of the Act would promote the purposes of the Act or is otherwise in the national interest of the United States... 

Determine, consistent with section 110(d)(4) of the Act, with respect to Syria and Equatorial Guinea, that assistance described in section 110(d)(1)(B) of the Act would promote the purposes of the Act or is otherwise in the national interest of the United States[.]

Section 110(d)(4) reads:

(4) CONTINUATION OF ASSISTANCE IN THE NATIONAL
INTEREST.—Notwithstanding the failure of the government of the country to comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and to make significant efforts to bring itself into compliance, the President has determined that the provision to the country of nonhumanitarian, nontrade-related foreign assistance, or the multilateral assistance described in paragraph (1)(B), or both, would promote the purposes of this division or is otherwise in the national interest of the United States.

Section 110(d)(1)(A)(ii) reads:

(ii) in the case of a country whose government received no nonhumanitarian, nontrade-related foreign assistance from the United States during the previous fiscal year, the United States will not provide funding for participation by officials or employees of such governments in educational and cultural exchange programs for the subsequent fiscal year until such government complies with the minimum standards or makes significant efforts to bring itself into compliance[.]

Section 110 (d)(1)(b) reads:

(B) the President will instruct the United States Executive Director of each multilateral development bank and of the International Monetary Fund to vote against, and to use the Executive Director’s best efforts to deny, any loan or other utilization of the funds of the respective institution to that country (other than for humanitarian assistance, for trade-related assistance, or for development assistance which directly addresses basic human needs, is not administered by the government of the sanctioned country, and confers no benefit to that government) for the subsequent fiscal year until such government complies with the minimum standards or makes significant efforts to bring itself into compliance.

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