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Mass. Will Appeal on Burma 

The National Law Journal (p. A11)
Monday, November, 23, 1998 

BOSTON --Massachusetts will appeal a federal court ruling that declared
unconstitutional its law penalizing companies doing business with Myanmar,
formerly known as Burma, officials said Nov. 10. "Massachusetts stands
with--not against--the federal government in its policy toward the current
Burma regime," state Attorney General Scott Harshbarger said in announcing
the appeal. President Clinton slapped sanctions on military-ruled Myanmar in
1997, banning new investments by U.S. companies but allowing existing
business to continue. The National Foreign Trade Council, a Washington-based
group of companies that do business overseas, challenged the Massachusetts
law, which adds 10 percent to bids for state contracts from companies doing
business with Myanmar. The European Union filed a brief supporting the
council's position, and the E.U. and Japan are protesting the law at the
World Trade Organization.U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro ruled Nov. 4 that
the law "unconstitutionally infringes on the federal government's exclusive
authority to regulate foreign affairs." His ruling, though binding only in
Massachusetts, casts doubt on the legality of similar laws in some 20 cities.