What are antiboycott laws?

Antiboycott laws are federal rules that prohibit U.S. persons from agreeing to participate in unauthorized foreign boycotts. While the initial impetus for these laws was the Arab League boycott of Israel, the requirements are written generally, and apply to any boycott the U.S. government does not endorse.

Examples of antiboycott provisions

In practice, boycott requests can take many forms. For example, you may receive a request for a certification that goods are not coming from a specific country or that goods are not being shipped to a certain country. Another example is a request that you do not engage in business with a particular country. Additionally, a request for information about a business relationship with a specific country or about a person’s race, religion, or national origin can also constitute a boycott request.


Federal antiboycott laws require reporting of any requests to participate in unauthorized boycott. Required Information includes not only the circumstances and content of the request, but also what action the reporting entity (i.e. we at Brown) took. A report must be submitted no more than one month after the end of the quarter in which a request is received.


Currently, penalties are as high as the greater of $284,582 per violation or twice the value of the transaction for civil violations, and up to $1 million in fines and 20 years imprisonment per violation for deliberate, criminal acts. Other possible penalties include loss of export privileges and federal debarment.