U.S. shifts Cuba policy to allow lawsuits against foreign companies — and that includes Canadian firms – by Mike Blanchfield (Canadian Press/Financial Post – April 18, 2019)


OTTAWA — Canada and the European Union hit back Wednesday at the Trump administration’s decision to allow lawsuits against foreign companies connected to properties seized from American firms during the Cuban revolution, vowing to protect their businesses.

Canada and the EU pledged to work together in the World Trade Organization and ban the enforcement or recognition of American court orders against Canadian or European companies.

The landmark tightening of the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba’s communist government represents a major shift in U.S. foreign policy — one that could place Canadian mining, tourism and financial services companies at risk in American courts.

About one million Canadians annually vacation in Cuba and Toronto-based resource company Sherritt International is long established there, while countries such as Britain, France and Spain have companies active in rum, cigars and tourism.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada is “deeply disappointed” and reviewing options with the EU. “The EU and Canada consider the extraterritorial application of unilateral Cuba-related measures contrary to international law,” Freeland, her European Union counterpart Federica Mogherini and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said in a joint statement Wednesday.

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