Florida law on Cuba contracts loses another round in court

Miami, May 7 (EFE).- A federal appellate court upheld a U.S. district judge's decision to block a Florida law that barred companies doing business in Cuba and Syria from bidding on government contracts in the state.

The company that sued to stop the law, Florida-based Odebrecht Construction Inc., said it was "gratified" by the ruling.

The firm is a subsidiary of Brazilian giant Odebrecht, which has another unit working on the expansion of the Cuban port of Mariel.

Florida's law "differs dramatically from the federal regime as to the entities covered, the actions triggering sanctions, and the penalties imposed," a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott had appealed the decision of a U.S. district judge striking down the law he had signed, which banned government agencies from awarding contracts worth over $1 million to companies doing business with Cuba or Syria.

Odebrecht Construction has obtained roughly $4 billion in public contracts in the state since 1999, the appellate panel noted.

The law had been criticized by Florida's business organizations.