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The U.S. has officially begun to phase out the embargo on Cuba, and American small businesses owners are getting ready
Last month, President Obama announced the relaxation of the embargo on Cuba, paving the way for improved diplomatic relations and new trade. Last week, the new order went into effect. This has drawn in the interests of U.S. investors, currency traders, and small business owners alike.
This diplomatic and economic expansion is still in its infancy. President Obama has cautioned that the full extent of these relations with take years. You won’t be able to vacation on Cuban beaches any time soon, but American businesses will soon be able to export to Cuba’s construction, telecommunications, and agricultural sectors.
These new measures allow for travel to the island for authorized purposes, raise the limits on remittances to Cuba, allow U.S. financial institutions to open correspondent accounts in Cuba to process transactions, and more. This includes micro-financing projects and entrepreneurial training (for private business owners), meaning the potential boom in small business growth. The U.S. will also publish an extensive list containing all approved Cuban small businesses to import goods to America.
Medical and food trade has been legal between the U.S. and Cuba for a while, but legal wording may make this trade expansion quickly turn into a quagmire. It is still illegal for Americans and American businesses to invest in or conduct business with people linked to the Cuban military’s repression of democracy. This means that an American business owner will have to conduct extensive background checks.
Cuba is, over all, viewed to be a difficult country to do business due to heavy bureaucracy and an aging infrastructure. Access to Cuba will be limited still for American companies until Congress completely lifts the embargo, but even then there are difficulties on the horizon. For example, the Cuban government insists on being the majority stakeholder in most ventures, and work arrangements can get complicated.
Is your business eying diversifying its market by expanding to include Cuba?
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