US Cuba embargo grows new fangs in Florida

Cuba florida rick scott 2012 06 11

HAVANA, Cuba — It’s been a severe widen for a few companies that brave to do business on both sides of a Florida Straits.

Though US officials infrequently play down a mercantile impact of American trade sanctions opposite Cuba, several multinational firms in new weeks have seen their blurb ties to Havana move new headaches, domestic feverishness and large authorised fees.

Odebrecht, a Brazilian engineering and construction conglomerate, is now in lawsuit with a state of Florida over a new law that radically bars a state and internal governments from doing business with companies that have blurb ties to Cuba or Syria.

Pernod Ricard, a French tellurian libation distributor that partners with a Cuban supervision to discharge Havana Club rum, is on a verge of losing a brand’s heading in US sovereign courts to opposition Bacardi Corp.

And Spanish oil hulk Repsol appears to be walking divided from Cuba after falling hundreds of millions into an catastrophic bid to strike undersea wanton — while fending off attacks from anti-Castro lawmakers in a US, where a association also has drilling leases.

Large tellurian companies that work in Cuba mostly scheme around US trade restrictions by environment adult auxiliary firms that don’t run afoul of a 1962 US Trading with a Enemy Act, a 1992 Torricelli Act or a 1996 Helms Burton Act, pillars of a longest-running mercantile sanctions in a world.

European companies like Nestle (Switzerland), Adidas (Germany) and Virgin Atlantic (UK) are some of a tellurian brands that conduct to do business in Cuba but using into difficulty in a US, given Washington’s sanctions generally don’t request to unfamiliar firms that simply sell consumer products and services in Cuba.

But other companies that have shaped vital partnerships with a Cuban supervision for vital industrial projects have run into difficulty underneath US laws like Helms-Burton, that punishes unfamiliar businesses whose Cuba operations rivet skill that was nationalized after a 1959 Cuban Revolution.

That has been a box of a Canadian mining association Sherritt International, whose tip executives are criminialized from roving to a US given a organisation processes nickel ore in Cuban comforts that were once US property.

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Florida’s new law is a uninformed try to supplement nonetheless another disincentive for tellurian companies that competence wish to work in Cuba. Though it does not privately name Brazil’s Odebrecht, a legislation appears to be directly directed during a company.

Odebrecht’s Florida-based auxiliary Odebrecht USA, Inc has warranted scarcely $4 billion given 1990 on open works projects in a state, according to The Miami Herald, completing landmark structures like a American Airlines Arena and a new depot during a Miami International Airport.

Meanwhile, another Odebrecht subsidiary, COI Overseas Ltd, is a lead executive on an $800 million plan to renovate a Cuban pier of Mariel, with financial subsidy from a Brazilian government, that maintains accessible ties to Havana.

That try to make income opposite a Cuban ideological order appears to have done Odebrecht a aim for anti-Castro lawmakers in Florida, that is home to some-more than 1 million Cuban exiles and immigrants.

Florida lawmakers upheld a check in Apr exclusive internal governments or a state of Florida from awarding open contracts value some-more than $1 million to any organisation that conducts business with Cuba or Syria. Singed by Gov. Rick Scott final month, a law is set to take outcome on Jul 1.

That law aims to strech over than a sovereign government’s Helms Burton Act by targeting auxiliary companies of unfamiliar firms and fixation new powers in state hands.

Last week, Odebrecht filed fit opposite Florida arguing that usually a US supervision — not particular states — has a right to set unfamiliar trade process or make sanctions.

It also insisted that Odebrecht USA and COI Overseas Ltd are graphic entities. Odebrecht USA “does not engage, and never has engaged, in business operations in Cuba,” a association pronounced in a statement.

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It remarkable that a new law had placed a association in a ungainly position of carrying to sue Florida’s Department of Transportation — a same group it is perplexing to win contracts from for highway construction and other infrastructure projects.

Attorneys in Florida have indicated that authorised dominance is on Odebrecht’s side. Even if a association wins in court, it will finish adult profitable a domestic cost that could harm a chances during winning destiny contracts in a state.

It’s a same form of pointed vigour that might have contributed to Respol’s proclamation final month that it is expected to repel from destiny oil scrutiny in Cuba. The association spent some-more than $100 million to cavalcade in Cuban waters, employing a state-of-the-art oil supply privately designed to approve with US trade sanctions opposite Cuba.

As for Pernod Ricard, a US Supreme Court’s preference to defend a visualisation opposite a association finished a costly, 18-year justice battle, and drew a oppressive warning final week from a Cuban government, that threatened plea opposite US egghead property.

“The unpleasant opinion of a United States opposite a legitimate owners of Cuban code Havana Club could discredit a rights of 6,000 trademarks and 800 patents of a US purebred in a country,” pronounced Maria de los Angeles Sanchez, executive of Cuba’s Industrial Property Office.

Pernod Ricard will instead register a new heading underneath a code name “Havanista,” in box a embargo is ever carried and Americans can once again buy Cuban rum.

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