Clinton to Weigh Cost of Punishing Canadian Firm Policy on Businesses in Cuba Could Spark Trade War
Charlotte Grimes Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
With U.S. trading partners around the world in an uproar, the White House economic adviser said Friday that President Bill Clinton would weigh "both the costs and benefits" before deciding whether to go through with punishing a Canadian company for doing business with Cuba.
"Our position is that here's a case, which because of the special characteristics of Cuba's behavior, that sometimes exceptional means are required to deal with exceptional circumstances," Laura D'Andrea Tyson said in an interview with the Post-Dispatch.
But, she added, Clinton "hasn't made a decision. I certainly don't want in any way to signal his decision."
Clinton has until Tuesday to waive a part of the five-month Helms-Burton law that would allow American companies to sue foreign businesses that took over once-American-owned properties confiscated by Cuban President Fidel Castro.
If he allows the law to take effect, the costs could include a trade war with Canada and several other major trading partners. The benefits w ould range from promoting democracy in Cuba - as supporters see the Helms-Burton law - to political applause from the Cuban-American communities in the key election states of Florida and New Jersey.
Earlier last week, the administration took its first punitive step against foreign traders with Cuba by telling top executives and the biggest shareholders of Sherritt International Corp. …