European Union Director-General for International Development, Stefano Manservisi, center left, shakes hands with Ileana Nunez, Cuba's Vice Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, after signing bilateral agreements in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Meanwhile the European Union envoy to Cuba, Alberto Navarro, said the EU would defend itself in court if the Trump administration tried to sanction European firms doing business in Cuba. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

The Latest: EU 'ready to protect' European interests in Cuba

April 17, 2019 - 8:25 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Trump administration's position on Cuba (all times local):

8:20 a.m.

The European Union is warning that it stands ready to protect the interests of European firms or people doing business in Cuba who might be hit by any U.S. lawsuits filed against foreign companies there.

President Donald Trump's administration is expected to announce Wednesday that it will allow lawsuits against foreign firms doing business in properties seized from Americans after Cuba's 1959 revolution.

European Commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein says the EU "is ready to protect European interests, including European investments and the economic activities of EU individuals and entities in their relations with Cuba."

Winterstein underlines the EU's "strong opposition to the extraterritorial application of unilateral restrictive measures, which it considers contrary to international law."

He has declined to say what measures are being considered.

___

7:40 a.m.

A senior official in Madrid says the Spanish government is asking the European Union to challenge a U.S. move to allow lawsuits against foreign companies operating in properties seized from Americans in post-revolution Cuba.

The move, announced Tuesday, breaks with two decades of U.S. policy on the island.

Spain, which has large investments in hotels and other tourism-related industries in Cuba, will ask the EU to challenge the decision in the World Trade Organization, a senior government official told The Associated Press.

The official requested anonymity because she wasn't authorized to discuss the matter publicly. She added that Spain was committed to defending its interests on the island.

Businesses from Canada, France and Great Britain among other countries also conduct business in properties nationalized after Fidel Castro took power in 1959.

— By Aritz Parra

___

12:05 a.m.

The Trump administration is preparing to change a longstanding U.S. policy on Cuba.

The administration is expected to announce Wednesday that it will allow lawsuits against foreign companies doing business in properties seized from Americans after Cuba's 1959 revolution.

A law passed in 1996, the Helms-Burton Act, gives Americans the right to sue the mostly European companies that operate out of hotels, tobacco factories, distilleries and other properties that Cuba nationalized after Fidel Castro took power. The act even allows lawsuits by Cubans who became U.S. citizens years after their properties were taken.

But every U.S. president since Bill Clinton has suspended the key clause to avoid trade clashes and a potential mass of lawsuits that would prevent any future settlement with Cuba over nationalized properties.

AP Editorial Categories: 
Comments ()