Cuba Business

Southern states will create many jobs if Cuba trade is expanded

Posted June 14, 2005 by publisher in Cuba Business.

Southern states stand to gain the most if U.S. trade with Cuba is normalized, according to a University of South Alabama professor.

Speaking Friday to business leaders and elected officials from throughout the South, Seemon Chang, director of USA’s Center for Business and Economic Research, said the center estimates that Southern states would gain about 60,000 new jobs if trade with Cuba resumed.

Chang was among the speakers at the 2005 National Summit on Cuba, held at the Mobile Convention Center.

Winthrop M. Hallett III, spokesperson for the Gulf Coast Regional Chamber Coalition, comprised of five chambers of commerce—Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Mississippi Gulf Coast, Mobile area and Pensacola—said it’s “natural that Gulf Coast communities seek to access and pursue opportunities with a developing nation of 11 million people just off our shores. Before the embargo,” Hallett said, “trade and exchange with Cuba was an important part of our economy, and it could be again.”

Michael Olivier, who heads economic development for the state of Louisiana, noted that Cuba was Louisiana’s largest trading partner until 1960.

Ron Sparks, head of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, said sales to Cuba currently have “a total impact of $300 million” on the Alabama economy. “U.S. poultry sales alone have jumped 330 percent due to current Cuba trade,” he said, adding that “40 percent of the (U.S.) poultry industry is in our state.”

In his remarks, Tim Lynch, director of the Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis at Florida State University, predicted that Florida could gain almost 30,000 jobs and increase state output by almost $2.3 billion over the next three decades if normalization of trade with Cuba were to begin this year.

Member Comments

On June 14, 2005, I-taoist wrote:

I have never understood how keeping our doors closed to Cuban purchases hurts the communists and Castro. If anything, it seems to me, it helps keep them in power by giving them a perfect excuse for the shortcomings of their totering and inefficient system of economics.  To provide them such a scapegoat, while denying markets to our producers and manufacturers makes about as much sense as cutting off your own nose, to spite your face.  Perhaps it is the complexity of international trade that eludes this southern raised boy, but I could not imagine a more asanine policy if I had to think one up:  Deprive sales and profits to your own people while giving your adversary moral support among his own impoverished people…..sounds like a government operation to me.