Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. agreed yesterday to pay fines totaling $137,500 for violations of the antiboycott provisions of the 1979 Export Administration Act.
Generally, the antiboycott law prohibits American companies or individuals from complying with a boycott by a foreign country against countries friendly to the United States.
The law, which is enforced by the Commerce Department, was enacted to curb participation by U.S. firms in Arab trade boycotts against Israel.
In the case of 3M, the Commerce Department said that most of the infractions were committed by a small company outlet in Europe. It also said that 3M had cooperated with the investigation.
According to Commerce, three of the company's subsidiaries violated the law by allegedly declaring that products they sold did not originate in Israel. One subsidiary allegedly claimed it was not related to a company blacklisted by Arab boycotting countries, Commerce said.
Most of these comments were made by warehouse employes at a 3M facility in Reisholz, West Germany, Commerce said. These employes purportedly were unaware of the U.S. antiboycott law.
As part of the settlement, 3M and its foreign subsidiaries agreed to strengthen programs for complying with the antiboycott law.
The action against 3M is the 10th brought under the act so far in 1980, according to Commerce, Civil penalties have totaled $229,000 this year. In 1979, three firms were fined a total of $90,500.
Jeffrey Sinensky, an assistant director in the civil rights division of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith in New York, which lobbied for enactment of the antiboycott law, said the league is satisfied with Commerce's enforcement of the law.
Sinensky noted that two U.S. corporations, Trane Co. and Briggs & Stratton Corp., have filed suits challenging the constitutionality of the antiboycott act.