Dow Jones Business News April 18, 1997

E.U. Gives Final OK To E.U./U.S. Helms-Burton Accord

BRUSSELS -- The European Union's 15 member states Friday sent letters giving formal approval to an understanding brokered by the E.U. Commission and the U.S. administration aimed at resolving the long-running dispute over U.S. anti-Cuba legislation.

The adoption of the agreement hammered out last week effectively ends a World Trade Organization complaint that the E.U. had initiated against the U.S. over the Helms-Burton Act, which seeks to punish foreign companies that invest in property confiscated from Americans after the 1959 communist revolution in Cuba.

E.U. governments warned however, that the Union could renew its complaint if the U.S. does not live up to its agreement to eliminate a provision of Helms-Burton that denies U.S. visas to executives of corporations that have invested in expropriated property.

The agreement mapped out between the commission and the U.S. also offers protection to European companies from the provisions of the D'Amato law, which targets foreign investors in the oil industries of Iran and Libya.