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An anti-boycott, counter-boycott or buycott is the excess buying of a particular brand or product in an attempt to counter a boycott of the same brand or product. Anti-boycott measures could also be in the form of laws and regulations adopted by a state to prohibit the act of boycott among its citizens.

Consumer activism[edit]

Antiboycott or buycott in the United States has been employed by organizations that criticize consumer activism, especially during periods when such movement - for a portion of the American public - was considered un-American.[1] Once boycott was adopted by the labor movement as one of its tactics, their opponents began organizing anti-boycott leagues in response.[1] The usual reason for an anti-boycott is to prevent a company or entity from backing down on the decision that initially caused the boycott.

Some examples of anti-boycotts include:

Legal enforcement[edit]

Some anti-boycott measures are enforced by law. For example, anti-boycott provisions in the Export Administration Act of 1979 and Ribicoff Amendment to the Tax Reform Act of 1976 in the United States forbid US companies and their subsidiaries from complying with or supporting a foreign country's boycott of another country unless the US also approves of the boycott. Violations can cause the authorities to take firm measures.[7] The Arab League's boycott of Israel has been the primary focus of these laws, though it applies to any "unsanctioned" foreign boycott. Beginning in 1989, the United States and several European organizations became active in internationalizing this antiboycott effort, which led to the intensification of pressure on the European Community as well as Asian states to participate or act against the application of secondary boycotts in their countries.[8]

Specific "unsanctioned" actions that are prohibited under the U.S. anti-boycott regulations include the refusal to do business with or in a boycotted country; discrimination against U.S. persons in employment on the basis of race, religion, sex, or national origin; provision of information about business relationships with a boycotted country due to its relationship with a boycotted country; and, the use of letters of credit that contain boycott-related terms, among others.[9] U.S. persons, a term that covers all individuals, corporations and unincorporated associations resident in the United States, including the permanent domestic affiliates of foreign concerns, who receive requests to participate in an unsanctioned boycott are required to report the incident to the Office of Antiboycott Compliance (OAC).[10]

In 2018, the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission has begun investigating the utility of applying anti-boycott laws to Taiwan to protect US interests in Cross-Strait relations.[11]


  1. ^ a b Glickman, Lawrence (2009). Buying Power: A History of Consumer Activism in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 17. ISBN 9780226298658.
  2. ^ Fairplay UK Archived October 15, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Buycott Israel Canada[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Nov. 28, 2009, Calgary Herald, "Ignore boycott, it’s time to BUYcott Israel,"[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Amidst Boycott Calls, British And Canadian Jews Initiate Buycott Campaigns By Samuel Sokol Published on Thursday, November 19, 2009[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Watson, Bruce "Whole Foods 'buycott' turns grocery store into cultural battleground Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine" Daily Finance (2 November 2009). Last accessed, 10 December 2012)
  7. ^ "US Anti-Boycott Laws: Top 5 Things Exporters Should Know - Law360". Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  8. ^ Feiler, Gil (2011). From Boycott to Economic Cooperation: The Political Economy of the Arab Boycott of Israel. New York: Routledge. p. 140. ISBN 0714648663.
  9. ^ Low, Lucinda; Drory, Daniel; Norton, Patrick (2003). International Lawyer's Deskbook. Chicago: American Bar Association. p. 245. ISBN 1590311442.
  10. ^ Gross, Robin. "Office of Antiboycott Compliance". Retrieved 2018-08-06.
  11. ^ "2018 Report to Congress" (PDF). U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. November 2018. Retrieved December 18, 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Hoffmann, Stefan; Hutter, Katharina (2011). "Carrotmob as a New Form of Ethical Consumption. The Nature of the Concept and Avenues for Future Research". Journal of Consumer Policy. doi:10.1007/s10603-011-9185-2.