The Arab Boycott: Middle East Business Dilemma

by Jack Kaikati



The article explores the issue of Arab boycott which had the potential power to ban hundreds, even thousands, of the world's major trading and manufacturing corporations from the world's biggest growth market, providing background information on the history, objectives, and mechanics of the boycott, assessing the reactions of the American business community by analyzing the five strategies implemented by various multinational companies, and discussing in detail the antiboycott measures imposed by the U.S. government. U.S. exports to the Middle East and North African markets in 1975 totaled over $10 billion, constituting nearly 10 percent of the nation's global sales. Large numbers of American firms that have traditionally traded with Middle Eastern countries have raised their sales sharply in the past couple of years. The Arab boycott of Israel is an issue in which it is extremely difficult to separate politics and economics, political and emotional factors. The boycott, backed by a twenty-nation Arab League, has become a prominent factor in international business life, especially since the October 1973 war when the Arabs discovered their economic clout with the oil embargo.

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