Advisory Committee: US-Cuba Relations under President Trump

Following the announcement of new United States sanctions on Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, on 4 December 2018, members of the Caribbean Council Advisory Committee convened for an illuminating discussion during which industry experts shared insights on the US’s shifting policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean and its implications for foreign investors.

After introductions by our President Lord Bruce of Bennachie, legal specialist on US-Cuba trade, Bob Muse, provided insights into the geopolitical implications of the current US Administration’s toughened Cuba policy. Detailing the objectives of the key authors of this policy shift, Muse laid out the likely political and economic scenarios that investors should take into consideration. He also touched on the President’s threats to no longer suspend Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, which would allow registered owners of commercial property expropriated by the Cuban Government to take the current beneficiaries of that property to court in the US.

Hermenegildo Altozano, Partner at Bird&Bird, specialist on Cuba and Member of the Caribbean Council Advisory Committee, shared from his legal expertise on the legal recourse available to British and European firms that trade with Cuba given extraterritorial nature of sanctions that the US has newly imposed.

Fernando Ponz, Deputy head of Division of the European External Action Service, and Nigel Baker, Head of the Latin America Department and Deputy Director of Americas in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office shared on the political considerations of British and European policy makers in light of the US’s toughened policy in the region and reiterated the EU and UK’s commitment to supporting European and British interests in the region.

The panel discussion was followed by informative discussion and convivial drinks reception sponsored by Bird&Bird.