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 user 2009-01-12 at 3:37:40 pm Views: 42
  • #21278

    HP says it will stop distributor’s sales in Iran
    Hewlett-Packard said it has taken “further steps” to block the sale of its products in Iran, after a newspaper reported that a distributor was selling HP printers there despite a federal ban on exporting U.S. products to that country.The Palo Alto computer giant has declined to comment directly on a Dec. 29 report by The Boston Globe, which found that an independent distributor based in Dubai was selling HP printers widely in Iran. The Globe also cited a 1999 news report in which an HP executive appeared to acknowledge the sales, despite a federal trade ban that started four years earlier.The Clinton administration enacted the economic boycott, which is still in effect, in the hope of pressuring Iran to stop funding militant groups and to abandon its nuclear development efforts. HP may have violated the law if the company knowingly allowed the distributor to sell HP products in Iran, according to trade experts cited by the Globe.

    But a U.S. company might not be liable for the actions of an independent distributor, if the distributor sold products in Iran without the manufacturer’s knowledge, said former prosecutor Michael Li-Ming Wong, who ran the white-collar crime section for the U.S. attorney’s office in San Francisco before joining private law firm Ropes & Gray. He stressed that he wasn’t commenting on the specifics of the HP situation.An HP representative declined Friday to say what the company knew about sales of its printers in Iran.

    HP, which says it “has a policy of complete compliance with all U.S. export laws,” issued a statement late Thursday that said it has clarified the terms of its contracts with distributors “to explicitly prohibit the sale of HP products in Iran.” The company also said it will monitor its Middle Eastern distributors more closely.”Having recently examined the situation, we believe it’s important to go beyond the letter of the law,” the statement said, while stressing that HP does not sell any products directly to Iran and does not have any employees or facilities in that country.The Globe report included a description of HP printers stacked high inside a Tehran storehouse. It said the distributor, an Indian-owned company called Redington Gulf, had licensed Iranian retailers to sell HP printers at various stores.

    Redington Gulf has posted a statement on its Web site in response to the newspaper report.”Redington Gulf is an authorized distributor and an authorized service provider in Middle East & Africa, for HP brand, amongst other brands of global repute,” the statement said. “We sell authorized products, to HP authorized customers, in authorized territories, in line with HP’s policy guidelines.”