News Column

Sanctions on French bank may affect US-EU trade pact: French min.

June 5, 2014



"We are allies who trust each other and we do not want this relationship to fall apart," said Finance Minister Michel Sapin.

PARIS 

U.S. sanctions, announced Wednesday on France's biggest bank BNP Paribas for violating a U.S. trade embargo on countries such as Iran, Sudan and Cuba, might have a negative impact on ongoing negotiations between the U.S. and the EU on a free trade pact, the French finance minister said Thursday. 

French President Francois Hollande demanded Wednesday that U.S. courts approach the issue in a reasonable way, as France wants to protect its financial stability and said the $10bn (£6bn) fine is "disproportionate."

"We are allies who trust each other and we do not want this relationship to fall apart," said Finance Minister Michel Sapin.

If signed -- probably by the end of the year -- the free trade pact, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, will set up the largest free trade area in the world, enabling easier sale of goods and services between the U.S. and the EU.

Independent research has shown that the free trade deal could boost the EU's economy by $162 billion and the U.S. economy by $122 billion.

In addition to the fine, the U.S. regulator requested the resignation of ten BNP Paribas's senior executives on accounts of negligence.

BNP Paribas could also face a possible loss of its banking license in the United States, meaning it would not be able to deal in dollars.

In recent years, the United States has recently been revising the financial transactions with sanction-imposed countries, namely investigating BNP Paribas for violation of an embargo between 2002 and 2009.

Following reports of the possible fine last week, BNP Paribas' shares plummeted in the stock market.

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Source: Anadolu Agency (Turkey)


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