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US embargo on Cuba adversely hit tech, drug transfer from India: UN report

Press Trust of India  |  United Nations 

Transfer of technology and important drugs from Indian entities to has been adversely impacted due to the decades-long US embargo on the island nation, according to a report by UN Antonio

The (UNGA) had in a resolution titled 'Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the US against Cuba' requested the UN to prepare, in consultation with the appropriate organs and agencies of the UN system, a report on the implementation of the resolution.

was among the 189 UN member states that voted last week in the UNGA in favour of condemning the US' economic, commercial and financial embargo against -- a call that has made every year since 1992. Only the US and had voted against the UNGA resolution.

The report noted that not only has the embargo against remained in force, it has been tightened, as demonstrated by examples of the effects of the policy on Cuban entities and on third parties.

On November 9, 2017, the US arbitrarily banned direct financial transactions with 179 Cuban institutions in various sectors, which has a negative impact on the country's economic development and an intimidating effect on companies in the US or third countries that wish to establish economic, commercial and relations with Cuba.

According to the report, some specific examples of the implementation of this policy include instances of Indian entities.

On February 12, 2018, it was reported that five Indian banks had refused to carry out a transfer from the office of the in Cuba to the Indian company Ankur Scientific Energy Technologies, because of the regulations of the US embargo.

In March 2018, MediCuba, the Cuban company that imports and exports medical products, was informed that the Indian company had refused to make direct shipments to Cuba of levofloxacin, a drug used to treat bacterial skin infections, bronchitis and pneumonia, among other diseases.

"This was because the Indian company's would not authorise the payments made by Cuba, since the shipping documents supporting the payment had a country under embargo as the final destination," the report said.

The instance of the case between and has been cited among "examples of the damage resulting from the embargo in the health sector".

The report also includes replies from various governments and UN organs to the request of for information on the matter.

According to India, it has not promulgated or applied any laws of the type referred to in the preamble of the UNGA resolution on Cuba, and, as such, the necessity of repealing or invalidating any such laws or measures does not arise.

"has consistently opposed any unilateral measure by countries that impinge on the sovereignty of another country. These include any attempt to extend the application of a country's laws extra-territorially to other sovereign nations," the country's reply said.

further urged the international community to adopt all necessary measures to protect the sovereign rights of all countries.

The report noted that the embargo has had a direct impact on all UNDP development projects and emergency activities as it increases the transaction costs of obtaining project inputs and also the cost of transporting the imported goods.

"Finding alternative shipping companies requires additional time and effort. As a result, projects have been affected by significant delays in the purchase and distribution of project inputs, which has had a negative impact on the timely implementation of project activities and results," the report said.

It said the situation has been particularly worrisome in the case of projects related to and local development, given the lengthy process to access and import agricultural inputs such as irrigation systems, and

It cited the example of an ongoing development project that aims to implement measures to adapt to climate change in food production, a gasification plant that uses rice husks was contracted.

The technology was received by the beneficiaries of the project.

"However, as of today, it has not been possible to realize the transfer to the supplier. According to the supplier Ankur Scientific Energy Technologies, the of India has refused to receive the funds because the transaction is related to a project implemented in Cuba. In this context, it has been impossible to fulfil the payment to the supplier and the implementation of the project has been delayed," the report said.

The Cuban companies responsible for manufacturing in the country are forced to import approximately 70 per cent of their raw materials from different markets like Argentina, Brazil, Canada, the Dominican Republic, India, Italy, and

Moreover, as a result of the blockade, Cuba has not been allowed to buy from the US market, which happens to be very attractive, given its prices and its proximity to Cuba, the report said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, November 05 2018. 19:55 IST
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