The U.S. Treasury Department has fined a French firm for doing business with Cuba in violation of the U.S. trade embargo against the Caribbean island nation, Cuban state-run daily Granma reported Tuesday.
CGG Services, a company specializing in geophysical services, was slapped with a 614,250-U.S.-dollar fine for using "spare parts and equipment of U.S. origin on oil and gas exploration vessels operating in Cuban territorial waters," the report said.
The move came against the background of a diplomatic thaw between Washington and Havana, which announced in December 2014 their intention to normalize ties, and just days after the first U.S. company was given the green light to set up a factory in Cuba to make farm tractors.
Washington has yet to lift its 55-year-old embargo against Cuba, which calls it a blockade as it prohibits third countries from transacting with Cuba.
"The fine is yet another example of the extraterritorial scope of the blockade and its deterrent effect on foreign and even U.S. companies," the daily said.
The fine is also "inconsistent with the current context of relations between the two countries and demonstrates that in order to make real progress towards the normalization of bilateral ties, the blockade must be lifted," the daily added.
Since December 2014, the U.S. government has fined seven companies -- four from the United States -- more than 2.8 billion dollars for violating its trade embargo.
Such fines levied since the start of U.S. President Barack Obama's administration in 2009 amount to 14.4 billion dollars