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Permanent Mission of Cuba in Geneva
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Statement by Cuba in the Thirteenth US Trade Policy Review.

WTO. Statement by Cuba in the Thirteenth US Trade Policy Review.

December 19, 2016 

Mr. President, 

In the context of the Thirteenth US Trade Policy Review, Cuba wishes to acknowledge the progress made in the diplomatic field and cooperation between the two countries on issues of common interest. 

However, Cuba also wishes to ratify before this Trade Policy Review Body that the measures of the economic, commercial and financial blockade that the US government continues to apply against our country remain practically unchanged. 

Two years after the Cuban and the US governments decided to reestablish their diplomatic relations and begin a process of normalization of their trade and financial ties, there have been no substantial changes in the implementation of the blockade policy towards the country, which means that its measures continue to be applied directly against Cuba with the same rigor as in previous stages and its extraterritorial scope continues to affect third countries. 

In March 2016, new amendments to the regulations of sanctions that the United States applied were announced, including the use of the dollar by Cuban citizens and financial institutions for certain transactions for the first time since the blockade is in force. This would modify in some way one of the most significant aspects of the blockade; however, the measure has not been materialized as the siege and persecution on the Cuban monetary assets abroad continues. 

The blockade policy against Cuba continues to be the main obstacle to the economic development of the country by hampering the performance of all sectors of the national economy, causing a substantial increase in financial costs and hampering access to external financial flows, which at the same time hampers peremptory imports, mainly of food, medicines and fuel, which turns to be a serious obstacle to the economic development. 

That is why the country's efforts to integrate into the world trade system are made under particularly difficult conditions, resulting from a policy that contradicts the principle of free trade. 

The blockade laws also prohibit multilateral and regional financial institutions from granting loans to Cuba, denying it access to long-term sources of financing under favorable conditions, which obliges it to use short-term loans with high interest rates and suppliers´ financing, much less flexible than those of financial institutions and of an official nature. 

The actions taken by the US government to modify the application of some aspects of the blockade to Cuba are positive, but very limited, since they have a reduced impact on the bilateral economic, commercial and financial ties. 

Once again, Cuba urges the United States to proceed with the elimination of the discriminatory and unjustified policy of blockade against Cuba and to favor the reestablishment for our country of fair and balanced conditions in its foreign trade. 

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