Cuba Business

US-Cuba Trade Would Benefit With Lifting of Economic Blockade

Posted April 21, 2004 by publisher in Cuba Business.

Prensa Latina

Havana - In the first five years, normal trade turnover between Cuba and the United States would reach more than 21 billion dollars, Cuban Central Bank president, Francisco Soberon, affirmed to visiting US business people.

Speaking at a dinner late Wednesday evening at National Hotel for the 172 entrepreneurs from 30 states attending the first round of bilateral negotiations this year, the director brought to light some of the vast trade potential possible with normal relations.

The possibilities of the world´s second-largest nickel reserves and for petroleum, for ship repair -the most competitive in the Caribbean- and of course, the hundreds of daily trips airlines could make to Cuban airports, either as a final destination or as a jump-off point to South America, were some of the potentials discussed.

Cuba could spend billions in buying transportation, telecommunication, and industrial equipment, not to mention the billion annually it could spend on food imports - the topic of most interest to this group of US business leaders.

Among the government officials attending the dinner after the first day of negotiations were Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage, Parliament President Ricardo Alarcon de Queseda and Trade Minister Raul Alvarez de la Nuez.

During Wednesday´s opening of negotiations, Pedro Alvarez, Chairman of Cuba´s food import company Alimport, said they expected to sign 100 million dollars in contracts this week, and this, while regular trade is impeded by US regulations on Cuban financing and shipping, as well as limiting it as unidirectional.

Cuba cannot export a single cigar or bottle of rum to the United States under the rules of the economic blockade Washington has impused for over 40 years.

Member Comments

On April 21, 2004, publisher wrote:

I’m proud to say that I was one of the entrepreneurs in the audience that night.

I have to admit that I didn’t hear much of what Senor Soberon said because the crowd was very noisy.

We had just sat for Fidel for three hours and wanted to talk business and network with other US business people.

So, Senor Soberon, let me apologize for my American brethren for our lack of attention to your speech.

If you have it in English, send it along and I’ll post it here.