AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS IN SWITZERLAND, ON SECTION 211 OF THE WTO’S DISPUTE SETTLEMENT BODY
Status Report No. 148 presented by the United States points out every month, and I quote that the United States notes that relevant legislation has been introduced in the current 114th session of the United States Congress and that The United States will continue to work on a solution that would resolve this matter.
Cuba wishes to makes reference to the four draft legislations mentioned by this Member in the DSB meeting of February 23, when they stated that projects H.R.274; H.R.403; H.R.635 and H.R.735 aim at resolving this dispute and that they could even repeal Section 211.
Certainly, these are four draft legislations submitted to the House of Representatives in January and February 2015, during the first 114th session of the Congress, projecting positive steps to resolve this dispute. However, none of the above have a real chance of becoming law and therefore will not make an impact on the continuity of Section 211.
In addition, we wish to warn that on March 17, 2015 draft S-757 was submitted to the United States Senate, aimed to amend Section 211. The draft intends to amend certain terms of the legislation so that it can comply with one of the considerations issued by the Dispute Settlement Body at the time, regarding how Section 211 violated the principle of National Treatment. Therefore, the minimum efforts taking place today in the US legislative apparatus are not leading to the elimination of Section 211 but to its extension in time.
As part of the call made by President Barack Obama to the Congress to eliminate the blockade against Cuba, the Government of the United States must work so that Section 211 may be permanently revoked.
In this regard, we would like to highlight some of the words of our President Raúl Castro Ruz, during his speech at the Seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama, on April 11, 2015, and I quote:
We have publicly expressed to President Obama, who was also born under the blockade policy toward Cuba, our recognition of his brave decision to participate in a debate with his country’s Congress in order to put an end to it.
To date, the economic, commercial and financial blockade continues to be applied in full force against the island, causing harm and scarcities to the people and is the fundamental obstacle to the development of our economy. It constitutes a violation of International Law and its extraterritorial reach affects the interests of all States.
One issue is the establishment of diplomatic relations and another is the blockade. Therefore, I ask you all, and life also obliges us, to continue supporting this struggle against the blockade, end of the quote.
Cuba requests once again before this Body the immediate repeal of Section 211 and the end of all the negative consequences generated by the application of the policy of the economic, commercial and financial blockade against our country.
We hope that the United States acknowledges the serious implications and negative precedent created by maintaining for so many years this noncompliance that infringes and violates the equity that we expected to obtain from the dispute settlement system established by the WTO.
Thank you very much