Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 3rd December 2013.

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Photo of Natascha Engel Natascha Engel Chair, Backbench Business Committee, Chair, Backbench Business Committee 11:30 am, 3rd December 2013

What discussions he has had with his US counterpart during negotiations on the transatlantic trade and investment partnership on the US blockade of the Republic of Cuba and its effect on European companies doing business in that country.

Photo of David Lidington David Lidington The Minister for Europe

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has discussed the transatlantic trade and investment partnership with Secretary Kerry. Both are keen supporters of this free trade agreement, which is worth up to £10 billion to the UK economy. They did not cover Cuba in those discussions.

Photo of Natascha Engel Natascha Engel Chair, Backbench Business Committee, Chair, Backbench Business Committee

Will the Minister use all his influence to persuade the United States to lift the blockade, which is bad for Cubans, bad for trade and bad for British business?

Photo of David Lidington David Lidington The Minister for Europe

We make it clear to the United States that we disagree with its approach to Cuba. We think that the blockade is counter-productive and that the way to strengthen the chances of both economic and political reform in Cuba is through engagement, including on trade.

Photo of Richard Ottaway Richard Ottaway Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee

At the heart of this argument is a tactic that the United States has deployed in a number of different scenarios—namely, that it seeks to impose restrictions on US companies trading around the world, but also on non-US companies trading outside the jurisdiction of the United States. Will the Minister use the TTIP talks to try to persuade the United States to reconsider that tactic not just in Cuba, but more widely?

Photo of David Lidington David Lidington The Minister for Europe

I am not sure that the TTIP talks are the right opportunity for doing that, but my right hon. Friend certainly makes a good point. As he knows, we have both UK and EU legislation specifically to counter the extraterritorial impact of US sanctions against other countries’ companies operating in or trading with Cuba, and we continue to keep under review the necessity for such legislation as regards other countries.