Cuba asks WTO to condemn US embargo


Geneva : Cuba is challenging Washington’s 45-year-old economic embargo against the communist-ruled island on the grounds that the measure violates the rules set down by the World Trade Organization, according to the Spanish news agency EFE.

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In a proposal presented this week by Cuba to the rest of the member countries, Havana notes that the WTO works for “the elimination of discriminatory treatment in international trade relations”.

The text recalls that the ministerial declaration of the Doha Round – the negotiations for which began six years ago – specifies that “all members are in agreement with reducing or eliminating trade barriers”, including non-tariff barriers.

The proposal adds: “Considering that the international community has broadly rejected the imposition of laws and regulations and all other coercive measures,” the government of the island wants all nations to “abstain from implementing any restrictive measure on commerce against any other member country”.

The Cuban proposal goes on to “urge all the members to lift any discriminatory unilateral trade measure”.

It also asks that opportunities for market access be raised for all members, “especially those that are on the path of development”.

The US has maintained a trade and economic embargo against Havana since 1962, under which it prohibits most trips to Cuba and prevents US companies from doing business on the communist island.

For the 16th consecutive year, the UN General Assembly last week overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling on Washington to lift the embargo.