This article is featured in The Huffington Post, entitled What The US-Cuba Deal Means for Your Small Business.
Cuba has been sitting in the corner with its nose to the wall for quite a long, arduous and extended time out. Why? For a variety of reasons. But times are changing.
On Wednesday Dec. 17th, President Obama announced sweeping changes to our policy with Cuba. Changes that will loosen travel and trade restrictions. In eventually ending our embargo—a Cold War Policy that has been in effect since 1961—the U.S. will make inroads by re-establishing an embassy in Havana, relaxing banking restrictions against the country, and making it easier for Americans to travel and conduct business there.
“Americans will now be able to travel to the island (for business, school or art) and use credit cards there. U.S. banks can open accounts at Cuban financial institutions. It will be easier for U.S. companies to export products.” CNN Money
As a small business owner, you’re likely wondering, “What’s in it for me?” Here’s a list of key deal points, reported by Vox.com, that will indelibly impact foreign business relations with Cuba in years ahead.
- Diplomatic opening: The U.S. will take steps toward restoring diplomatic ties with Cuba, severed since 1961. The travel ban will still be in place, as will the embargo, but the embargo’s impact will be eased. And some preexisting exceptions to the travel ban will be expanded.
- Embassy in Havana: This will include the goal of reopening a U.S. embassy in Havana in the coming months. The embassy has been closed for over half a century.
- Eased business and travel restrictions: The U.S. will make it easier for Americans to obtain licenses to do business in Cuba, and to travel to the island. CNN reports that the new rules still won’t permit American tourism, but will make it easier to visit for other purposes.
- Eased banking restrictions: Americans will be able to use credit and debit cards while in Cuba.
- Increased Internet access: Cuba will allow its citizens increased access to the Internet. The U.S. has long sought this as a means of increasing pressure within Cuba for democratic reform.
Cuba Prospects for Small Business
It is apparent how large companies have experienced immediate gains. Share prices rose across industries and we’ll certainly see more Cuban cigars ($100 worth per traveler) and rum circulating than ever before. But that doesn’t mean the big guys will have all the fun.
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