The Arab boycott of Israel is crumbling under its own weight, US Trade Secretary Ron Brown said on 21 January. Brown raised the issue of lifting the boycott with a number of Arab states during an eight-day tour of the region to promote US trade.

Brown said he received a commitment from Arab League secretary-general Esmat Abdel-Meguid on 20 January that Arab foreign affairs ministers would discuss the issue of lifting the secondary and tertiary boycott at their next meeting in March. Brown said he hoped the discussions would result in lifting the boycott, which he says is damaging US business. The secondary and tertiary boycott blacklists firms which have major business interests in Israel. Abdel-Meguid said the primary boycott, blacklisting Israeli companies, would remain in place until Israel withdrew from all Arab land.