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The European Union has condemned the United States since Donald Trump signed laws which would boost sanctions against European nations doing business in Cuba.

The White House announced on Wednesday it would allow US citizens to sue foreign firms that do business deals involving property seized through the 1959 Cuban Revolution. The rule, which will likely open up EU companies to lawsuits against America, comes amid a backdrop of US-EU trade tensions and a hardening coverage in Washington from the Caribbean state\.

READ MORE: EU to Deal if US Imposes Sanctions on Investments from Cuba — French Minister

Radio Sputnik has discussed the rule imposed by the US with regard to US-EU trade tensions and the Venezuelan situation with Nicola Borri, an economics and finance professor at Rome’s LUISS Guido Carli University, Italy.

Sputnik: The EU has called the move an exterritorial use of sanctions which strikes European businesses, and is going to resist the steps in court. How do Europe protect its businesses now and later on\?

Nicola Borri: I believe the recent EU-Canada-US-Cuba dispute must be framed in the current trade struggle between Trump on both sides, China on the other side and Europe that is stuck in the middle. So all what is currently occurring is to be appraised concerning this bigger picture. In my view, the US authorities are utilizing the Cuba situation to push further in the management of their interest more.

More importantly, the EU is fighting this new law by the USA based on that former Cuban individuals who have emigrated from Cuba may bring to courtroom firms that in the meantime invested in Cuba. And a lot of businesses have achieved.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers a speech during his visit to Santiago, Chile April 12, 2019. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido

AP Photo / Rodrigo Garrido

Sputnik: Just how high are the stakes in this conflict to the EU that has invested a lot in Cuba because Obama’s U-turn?

Nicola Borri:  Only to give you some, the EU is currently Cuba’s second main trading partner accounting around for 20 percent of total Cuban trade. So there’s a significant relation between Europe and Cuba and the interests at stake are high.

Sputnik: The EU cautioned that enforcement of this law would result in reprisals from Europe. What legal efforts can be taken? What are the strategies to bypass the sanctions, if there are some\?

Nicola Borri:  It is hard to skip sanctions and we know that since quite lately European banks have received substantial fines against the US authorities, etc. because they have been bypassing sanctions. For bypassing sanctions in particular an Italian bank had been sanctioned. I believe that bypassing the sanctions isn’t the way. The EU and Canada will have to go through the path that is legal and it is not likely to be simple.

READ MORE: EU Threatens WTO Action because Trump Plans to Tighten Cuba Sanctions

Sputnik: The European Union and Canada say that they are ready to defend their companies’ interests in Cuba before the World Trade Organisation. What’s your prediction for this dispute?

Nicola Borri:  What does the EU do as well as Canada? Surely, they can visit WTO. So that’s I think the very first step which they will take. I presume that it will be difficult for Canada and the EU to fix this issue within the WTO because the competition is not a little nation, but is also still the usa. And we noted in WTO [that] large countries have a larger voice. Because of this, I believe that these are all pieces of a bigger bargain that is at the table\. And in a feeling, I believe that only when the largest trade dispute will be solved that also this dispute is going to be solved.

Children's shadows are cast on a Cuban national flag as they take part in a caravan tribute marking the 56th anniversary of the original street party that greeted a triumphant Castro and his rebel army, in Regla, Cuba, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015

AP Photo / Ramon Espinosa

Sputnik: The announcement comes as the Trump administration has infuriated European allies over its own withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear bargain, there will also be trade disputes brewing between Washington and Brussels. What are your thoughts on the view of the transaction conflict\?

Nicola Borri:  This makes us think about the recent dispute about Iran. So that’s a deal that has struck particularly Italy that has spent quite a bit in Iran in the energy sector, at the railroad sector, also in the construction sector. So all these disputes have a negative effect on European countries and that’s why Europe is trying to push hard against that.

Sputnik: Europe has backed the USA in placing pressure on Venezuela’s Maduro, but launching a trade dispute and hitting Cuba’s economy could cause losing support from allies. What can be the impact of the US step\?

Nicola Borri:  In terms of the last query. So, the Venezuela question, naturally, it is quite complex and I believe that Cuba isn’t going to have a massive effect on the Venezuela situation. Is more complicated. And I presume \it is going to demand a lot of focus because the population does not have supplies and food, since there is now a catastrophe\.

There is conflict within Venezuela between two assumed leaders. And we all know that Venezuela is a country with one. So I believe the outcome of the Venezuela situation will be dependent on what exactly the United States along with Europe will think is your very best. But I really don’t find that concerning the Cuba situation.

The perspectives and opinions expressed by thespeaker don’t necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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