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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Canada to Fight Anti-Cuba Law in Court

TORONTO -- Canada has become the first nation to announce retaliatory measures against the United States' new anti-Cuba trade law, promising to fight its provisions in Canadian courts and through international arbitration.

Washington "takes aim at its foe and shoots at its friends," said Canadian Foreign Trade Minister Arthur Eggleton in announcing the measures Monday. He said Canada is moving to submit the U.S. law to arbitration under the North American Free Trade Agreement and will enact legislation to block the effect of the law in Canada unless President Bill Clinton invokes a waiver of the most controversial section, as allowed by the U.S. legislation.

The law prohibits foreign firms from "trafficking" in Cuban goods and property confiscated from U.S. citizens, including people who became U.S. citizens after Fidel Castro's takeover in 1959. U.S. assets owned by such foreign companies could be the subject of lawsuits, and the firms' executives, and their families, can be barred at the U.S. border.

Canada, usually a close U.S. ally, has been one of the strongest opponents of the legislation. Last week, Prime Minister Jean Chretien joined Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo in complaining that the measure law imposes the political will of the United States on what ought to be the free trade of its allies.