May 3, 2012 –
Tony Villamil, WEG’s Founder and Principal and St. Thomas University’s Dean of School of Business was consulted by Andres Oppenheimer for an article on the recently-signed law prohibiting local governments from hiring firms that do business with Cuba or Syria for contracts in excess of $1 million.
The law was signed by Governor Rick Scott on Tuesday and quickly followed by a statement that it is unenforceable by the State. Since the law directly impacts foreign commerce, it needs the approval of Congress and the President. Tony Villamil says that the new law is counter-productive, stating that it “is a black eye on Florida.” Tony said that “first, this law is unconstitutional, because it violates the federal power to conduct foreign policy, “and secondly, the law “violates World Trade Organization rules that say that you cannot discriminate against a foreign company, and create second-class companies.” Tony also commented that the law “hurts Florida’s business climate.”
Adding importantly that “trade missions that Florida and the governor have taken around the world, including to Brazil, telling foreign companies that we welcome them in Florida, we are excluding them from meaningful state and local contracts.” Additionally, Tony noted that the bill “doesn’t do anything to help the freedom of Cuba,” adding that it “allows Castro to have a propaganda point and say, ‘Look how hostile Cuban exiles are against our country.’”