900 Dynes Rd., Apt. 1807
Ottawa, Ont. K2C 3L6
As widely reported in the media, Credit Union Electronic Transaction Services (CUETS Financial Ltd.) - based in Regina - was acquired last October by MBNA Canada - a subsidiary of the U.S. Bank of America. CUETS issues MasterCards to credit unions and caisses populaires in Canada. As a result of the acquisition, CUETS MasterCards will not work in some countries including Cuba and Iran because CUETS have chosen to abide by U.S. law.
The Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC), an umbrella organization representing about 55,000 members advocating for a Canadian policy towards Cuba independent from the U.S. government policy, has learned of cases where Canadians travelling to Cuba were unable to use their Canadian issued MasterCard charge cards resulting in hardship for them. About 600,000 Canadians travel to Cuba each year; many use their charge cards.
The CNC is concerned that CUETS and Credit Unions involved appear to be in violation of Canadian law. The law in reference is the Foreign Extra Territorial Measures Act (FEMA), amended in 1996. This law requires subsidiaries of foreign companies operating in Canada to abide by Canadian law and to report to the Attorney General of Canada any direction to the contrary. Please find enclosed reference to FEMA.
The CNC feels that if Canadian-based CUETS refuse to process charge cards issued to Canadian citizens by Canadian-based Credit Unions they might be in breach of the Foreign Extra Territorial Measures Act (FEMA).
The CNC has contacted former Minister Maxime Bernier at DFAIT on this issue and the reply came with the suggestion we contact you by stating: "You may wish to send your complaint
directly to the RCMP, which has the responsibility for assessing whether there are sufficient grounds to warrant an investigation under the FEMA and to proceed with charges."
To this effect the CNC kindly requests the RCMP Customs and Excise Branch to conduct such an assessment.
CC: Hon. David Emerson
[Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade]
January 18, 1996 / No. 8
CANADA AMENDS ORDER BLOCKING U.S. TRADE RESTRICTIONS
Foreign Affairs Minister André Ouellet and Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada Allan Rock today announced that Canada has amended a 1992 order designed to block attempts by the United States to restrict trade between Cuba and U.S.-owned subsidiaries based in Canada.
The original order, signed October 9, 1992 and issued under the Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act, has been revised by the Attorney General with the concurrence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to cover all extraterritorial U.S. measures taken at all levels of government aimed at impeding trade between Canada and Cuba.
The amended order applies to trade in services, including technology, in addition to goods. It also broadens the definition of trade between Canada and Cuba by obliging U.S. subsidiaries in Canada to deal on a normal business basis with "specially designated nationals." This designation has been used by the United States to prohibit certain Canadian companies, which do business in Cuba, from doing any business in Canada with subsidiaries of U.S. companies.
"We have made it clear time and again to the U.S. Congress and Administration that Canada will not tolerate any interference in the sovereignty of Canadian laws," said Mr. Ouellet. "Canada will continue to monitor actions by the United States to ensure that the interests of Canadian businesses are protected."
Mr. Rock said: "This is part of our ongoing policy to resist intrusions of U.S. law into Canada, which would negatively affect the conduct of Canadian trade abroad. Canadian companies will carry out Canadian business under the laws and regulations of Canada, and not those of a foreign country." The order further requires these companies to report to the Attorney General of Canada any instructions or attempts to influence their trade with Cuba.
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ORDER REQUIRING PERSONS IN CANADA TO GIVE NOTICE OF COMMUNICATIONS RELATING TO, AND PROHIBITING SUCH PERSONS FROM COMPLYING WITH, AN EXTRATERRITORIAL MEASURE OF THE UNITED STATES THAT ADVERSELY AFFECTS TRADE OR COMMERCE BETWEEN CANADA AND CUBA
1. This Order may be cited as the Foreign Extraterritorial Measures (United States) Order, 1992.
2. In this Order,
"Canadian corporation" means a corporation that is registered or incorporated under the laws of Canada or of a province and that carries on business in whole or in part in Canada; (personne morale canadienne)
"extraterritorial measure of the United States" means
(a) the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations, Title 31, Part 515, as amended from time to time or replaced, and
(b) any law, statute, regulation, by-law, ordinance, order, judgment, ruling, resolution, denial of authorization, directive, guideline or other enactment, instrument, decision or communication having a purpose similar to that of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations referred to in paragraph (a), whether enacted, passed, made, done, voted, established, issued, rendered, given, taken or executed by any legislative, executive, administrative, regulatory, judicial or quasi-judicial authority or body of the United States, the District of Columbia or any of the member states or territories or possessions of the United States, or any municipality or other local authority in the United States or its territories or possessions,to the extent that they operate or are likely to operate so as to prevent, impede or reduce trade or commerce between Canada and Cuba;
(mesure extraterritoriale des …tats-Unis)
"trade or commerce between Canada and Cuba" means trade or commerce, including the free exchange of goods and services, between Canada, or Canadian nationals, corporations or other legal entities or federal, provincial or local government institutions, and
(a) Cuba, or Cuban nationals, corporations or other legal entities or national, provincial or local government institutions, or
(b) Canadian nationals or corporations that are designated as, deemed to be, or otherwise treated as, Cuban nationals or corporations by or pursuant to an extraterritorial measure of the United States, whether by the use of the expression "designated national" or "specially designated national" or in any other manner. (commerce ou échanges entre le Canada et Cuba)
3. (1) Every Canadian corporation and every director and officer of a Canadian corporation shall forthwith give notice to the Attorney General of Canada of any directive, instruction, intimation of policy or other communication relating to an extraterritorial measure of the United States in respect of any trade or commerce between Canada and Cuba that the Canadian corporation, director or officer has received from a person who is in a position to direct or influence the policies of the Canadian corporation in Canada.
(2) The notice referred to in subsection (1) may be given by an authorized agent of the Canadian corporation, director or officer.
4. The notice referred to in section 3 shall be sent by registered mail to the Attorney General of Canada at Ottawa and set out
(a) the name or names and capacity of the person or persons giving notice under subsection 3(1) or on whose behalf notice is given under subsection 3(2), and in the latter case the names, capacity and address of the agent;
(b) the name or names and capacity of the person or persons from whom the communication originated;
(c) the full text or, if it is not in writing, the purport of the communication;
(d) the date or dates when the communication was received; and
(e) the period during which the communication is intended to be in effect.
5. No Canadian corporation and no director, officer, manager or employee in a position of authority of a Canadian corporation shall, in respect of any trade or commerce between Canada and Cuba, comply with an extraterritorial measure of the United States or with any directive, instruction, intimation of policy or other communication relating to such a measure that the Canadian corporation or director, officer, manager or employee has received from a person who is in a position to direct or influence the policies of the Canadian corporation in Canada.
6. Section 5 applies in respect of any act or omission constituting compliance, in respect of any trade or commerce between Canada and Cuba, with an extraterritorial measure of the United States or a communication referred to in that section, whether or not compliance with that measure or communication is the only purpose of the act or omission.
Users of this consolidation are reminded that it is prepared for convenience of reference only and that, as such, it has no official sanction.
© Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, September 1996