Reinsch Urges Bush to Waive Cuba Sanctions

Thursday, 12 July 2001

"This extraterritorial provision is unenforceable and highly contentious with our major trading partners. Title III invites serious challenge," said Reinsch. "Were the U.S. to implement Title III, the result would be a serious confrontation with our major allies and trading partners in Europe and Latin America. They have made it plain that they regard Title III as a violation of the WTO. Certainly, there is no evidence that implementing Title III would hasten 'free and fair internationally supervised elections' that the Act quite properly wishes to see take place in Cuba."

Title III attempts to discourage foreign transactions in Cuba by imposing sanctions on persons trafficking in property confiscated by the Cuban government. In particular, the Act establishes a new civil remedy for U.S. nationals holding claims exceeding $50,000 (including those naturalized after the confiscation of their property) and mandates denial of visas to foreign traffickers in confiscated property, including corporate officers, shareholders and members of their immediate families.

By covering a wide array of commercial transactions, Title III invites serious challenge. As defined in the Act, "trafficking" is not limited to dealing in confiscated property; recovery may be sought for merely knowingly and intentionally engaging in any "commercial activity using or otherwise benefiting from confiscated property." The Act extends to those of whom the Secretary of State is "informed by competent authority" of having such an involvement.

The National Foreign Trade Council is a leading business organization advocating a rules-based world economy. Founded in 1914 by a group of American companies that supported an open world trading system, the NFTC now serves more than 500 member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.

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