WASHINGTON (AP) — The European Union and Canada are joining forces to protect their companies after the U.S opened the door for lawsuits against foreign firms operating on properties Cuba seized from Americans.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland say the U.S. move "to renege on its longstanding commitment" to avert such legal action "is regrettable."

Mogherini and Freeland say in a joint statement issued Wednesday they're "determined to work together to protect the interests" of their companies.

They warn that EU and Canadian laws allow counter-claims against any U.S. lawsuits "so the U.S. decision to allow suits against foreign companies can only lead to an unnecessary spiral of legal actions."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the U.S. won't renew a bar on litigation in place for two decades. The decision is a blow to Havana's efforts to draw foreign investment to the island.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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