From Fort Wayne News Sentinel
COLUMBUS, IN --
Representatives for Cummins Inc. recently traveled to China to smooth over controversy that erupted when Amnesty International reported in June that Cummins engines were found in military trucks sold to Sudan.
Cummins provides engines, fuel systems, electrical power generation systems and other related technologies for companies around the globe. Cummins reported a net income of $550 million on sales of $9.9 billion in 2005.
" ... More than 200 Chinese military trucks -- typically fitted with Cummins diesel engines -- were shipped to Sudan in August 2005," according to Amnesty International.
The engines weren't made by Cummins, said public relations director Mark Land. Rather, the engines were made by a China-based firm Cummins co-owns, called Dong Feng Cummins Engine Company. The engines were then sold to an agency of the Sudanese government.
"Once we heard about it, we sent one of our top U.S. executives to China to speak with our joint-venture partner," Land said. "We're very much aware of the sensitive nature in Sudan. We've always followed U.S. export laws."
In 2003, the U.S. government imposed economic sanctions on the Sudanese government, due to the civil war being waged in the country's western Darfur region. Although they did not sever ties with Dong Feng, Land said the company now understands Cummins' stance regarding Sudan.
Amnesty International has called China one of the biggest suppliers of weapons to Sudan, Nepal, South Africa and Burma (also known as Myanmar), countries that are now or have been accused of civil rights abuses.
Between 2,000 and 3,000 Burmese refugees live in Fort Wayne, IN. Cummins is based in Columbus, IN.
Land said Cummins is also working to formalize a policy that denounces any business dealings with companies that support governments in Sudan and Burma, and has verbalized this to its other international corporate partners.
"We feel pretty strongly about this," he said. "We try to be [as] aware as we can, but it's a challenge."
Copyright 2006 Fort Wayne Sentinel. All Rights Reserved.
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