Why Do Commerce, State, Transportation, USDA & FCC View US Law So Differently?
The Result Is United States Companies Not Receiving The Support They’re Entitled To
According to the United States Departments of Commerce and Agriculture, they are prohibited by law from assisting United States-based companies, including in trade missions, due to a provision of the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000. Private sector attorneys have issued opinions disagreeing with this view.
From a 2015 interview by The Honorable Penny Pritzker, United States Secretary of Commerce, with National Public Radio (NPR): “For example, she was not allowed to bring any American executives along to strike business deals on this trip.” Secretary Pritzker said “I can’t have a trade mission.”
The USDA and the DOC reported that their Republic of Cuba-related activities (and by extension the United States Government) were restricted and/or prohibited not be choice (policy), but law (statute), by the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (TSREEA) of 2000, title IX, Public Law 106-387 [22 U.S.C. 7207(a)(1)] (TSREEA).
§ 7207. Prohibition on United States assistance and financing
(a) Prohibition on United States assistance
(1) In general Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no United States Government assistance, including United States foreign assistance, United States export assistance, and any United States credit or guarantees shall be available for exports to Cuba or for commercial exports to Iran, Libya, North Korea, or Sudan.
(2) Rule of construction
Nothing in paragraph (1) shall be construed to alter, modify, or otherwise affect the provisions of section 6039 of this title or any other provision of law relating to Cuba in effect on the day before October 28, 2000.
The President may waive the application of paragraph (1) with respect to Iran, Libya, North Korea, and Sudan to the degree the President determines that it is in the national security interest of the United States to do so, or for humanitarian reasons.
However, the United States Department of Transportation believes no law impedes its two top officials from traveling (thus promoting and assisting) on inaugural commercial flights from the United States to the Republic of Cuba and the United States Department of State believes no law impeded a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and the Chairman of the United States Federal Communications Commission from including representatives of United States-based companies in an official delegation to the Republic of Cuba.
In October 2015, The Honorable Penny Pritzker, United States Secretary of Commerce, states that United States law prevents her from being accompanied by and assisting representatives of United States-based companies during her visit to the Republic of Cuba.
In November 2015, The Honorable Thomas Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture, states that United States law prevents him from being accompanied by and assisting representatives of United States-based companies during his visit to the Republic of Cuba.
In January 2016, The Honorable (Ambassador) Daniel Sepulveda, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs of the United States Department of State, and The Honorable Thomas Wheeler, Chairman of the United States Federal Communications Commission, visit the Republic of Cuba; and representatives of United States-based companies are included in the official delegation.
In August 2016, The Honorable Anthony Foxx, United States Secretary of Transportation, travels aboard a JetBlue Airways inaugural flight from Fort, Lauderdale, Florida, to Santa Clara, Republic of Cuba, before returning to the United States aboard a government aircraft.
In November 2016, The Honorable Victor Mendez, United States Deputy Secretary of Transportation, travels aboard an American Airlines inaugural flight from Miami, Florida, to Havana, Republic of Cuba.