div CESNURCenter for Studies on New Religions


Germany Blacklisted by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for "Sect Filter", Anti-Scientology Policy

(May 1, 2000)

Germany Blacklisted by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for "Sect Filter", Anti-Scientology Policy (May 1, 2000)
On May 1, 2000 the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has published its list of countries it regards as guilty of discriminatory trade practices. For the first time, a country is included for its anti-cult policy. Text of the session on Germany follows:
"Germany -- "Sect Filters": Policy guidance issued by the German Federal Government has raised concerns about a potential for discrimination against U.S. firms in procurement decisions by German entities. In September 1998, the Federal Economics Ministry issued procurement guidelines to be put into effect by all Federal Government Ministries. These procurement guidelines warn that a firm should be deemed "unreliable" if it refuses to sign a so-called sect filter. The filter requires a firm's leadership to attest that Scientology principles will not be used or spread in fulfillment of any contract; that the leadership of a firm will not recommend or approve participation in courses or seminars relating to Scientology principles during the course of business; and that firms reject Scientology principles in conjunction with any subsidiary. Procurement entities are permitted to reject bids and immediately terminate contracts if a firm does not sign the sect filter.
Although issued at the Federal level only for use on procurements related to consulting or training services, state-level entities and even private firms currently appear to be using sect filters beyond that narrow scope. While it still remains unclear how these measures will be implemented, at least one major U.S. supplier has had to undergo a qualification process that was significantly more extensive than that required by its competitors. Upon learning of the sect filter requirements, the Administration raised its concerns with the German Government and continues to press the Germans to repeal this discriminatory policy."

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Revised last: 3-05-2000