Canada ‘deeply disappointed’ by U.S. policy shift on Cuba lawsuits

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OTTAWA — Canada and the European Union hit again Wednesday on the Trump administration’s resolution to permit lawsuits in opposition to international firms related to properties seized from American corporations in the course of the Cuban revolution, vowing to guard their companies.

Canada and the EU pledged to work collectively within the World Commerce Group and ban the enforcement or recognition of American court docket orders in opposition to Canadian or European firms.


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The landmark tightening of the U.S. commerce embargo on Cuba’s communist authorities represents a serious shift in U.S. international coverage — one that might place Canadian mining, tourism and monetary providers firms in danger in American courts.

About a million Canadians yearly trip in Cuba and Toronto-based useful resource firm Sherritt Worldwide is lengthy established there, whereas nations resembling Britain, France and Spain have firms energetic in rum, cigars and tourism.

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International Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland mentioned Canada is “deeply disenchanted” and reviewing choices with the EU.

“The EU and Canada take into account the extraterritorial software of unilateral Cuba-related measures opposite to worldwide legislation,” Freeland, her European Union counterpart Federica Mogherini and EU Commerce Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom mentioned in a joint assertion Wednesday.

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“Our respective legal guidelines enable any U.S. claims to be adopted by counter-claims in European and Canadian courts, so the U.S. resolution to permit fits in opposition to international firms can solely result in an pointless spiral of authorized actions.”

Freeland mentioned the federal government frequently met with the U.S. officers since January, when the problem first surfaced, to boost issues about “the attainable destructive penalties for Canadians — issues which might be long-standing and well-known to our U.S. companions.”

Throughout a latest journey to Washington, Freeland met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to debate the impact on Canadian firms if the U.S. had been to resurrect Title III of the Helms-Burton Act.

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Canada and its European allies have pushed the Trump administration to proceed to droop use of the dormant part of the legislation that enables Individuals to sue international firms linked to Cuban properties confiscated after the 1959 revolution.

When the U.S. legislation got here went into power in 1996, then-president Invoice Clinton postponed the implementation of Title III. Subsequent presidents adopted go well with and renewed the exemption each six months.


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President Donald Trump modified that follow. Final month, the U.S. State Division prolonged the Title III exemption by solely 30 days.

Canada’s International Extraterritorial Measures Act was amended in January 1997 to supply that any judgment beneath the Helms-Burton Act won’t be acknowledged or enforceable in any method in Canada. Different nations applied comparable “blocking statutes” on the time.

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On Wednesday, Pompeo mentioned the top of the Title III exemption is rooted in Cuba’s ongoing assist of Nicolas Maduro’s socialist authorities in Venezuela, and it will take impact early subsequent month.

“Cuba’s behaviour within the Western Hemisphere undermines safety and stability of nations all through the area, which instantly threatens United States nationwide safety pursuits,” he mentioned, including that Cuban army intelligence and state safety providers immediately hold Maduro in energy.

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“Sadly, Cuba’s most distinguished export nowadays is just not cigars or rum, it’s oppression. Detente with the regime has failed.”

Canada, its Lima Group allies and the U.S. have referred to as for Maduro’s ouster and acknowledge opposition chief Juan Guaido because the interim chief of the beleaguered South American nation, which has been engulfed in financial and political turmoil, sparking a refugee disaster.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce mentioned not too long ago it was involved concerning the potential affect on Canadian firms with operations in Cuba.

–with recordsdata from Ian Bickis

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