Doing business with Cuba has been historically tricky, with complex U.S. rules to untangle, lack of direct bank transactions as well as an often unreceptive Cuban government.
President Raúl Castro’s retirement next week — marking initially in nearly 60 years Cuba will be ruled without a Castro — was long anticipated to pave the way for increased business between the U.S. as well as Cuba.
although, as the idea turns out, the idea may not make much of a difference. Recent policy modifications under President Trump as well as a series of standoffs between Washington as well as Havana have made of which process thornier than ever.
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“The climate has certainly changed,” said Jay Brickman, vice president of Jacksonville-based Crowley Maritime Corp., which transports shipping containers full of chicken by Florida to Cuba. “The optimism of which was there has been dampened. People are investing less time to see how they could enter the Cuban market until they see where the relations are going.”
When the two former Cold War foes announced warmer relations in December 2014, U.S. businesses were hopeful they could start doing business with Cuba, just 0 miles away. Policy modifications under President Obama encouraged Americans to travel to the island as well as seek out business opportunities.
although Obama’s modifications didn’t go far enough to undo restrictions under the U.S. embargo against Cuba, provisions in place since 1960 of which severely restrict doing business with the communist island, said John Kavulich, president of the U.S.-Cuba Trade & Economic Council, a fresh York-based non-partisan business group of which provides information as well as analysis on doing business in Cuba.
On the flip side, the Cuban government also resisted opening up Cuba too much to private enterprise, he said. In August, the idea placed a temporary halt on fresh licenses for bed-as well as-breakfasts, restaurants as well as various other privately owned businesses. Last year, the idea balked on an offer by Google to expand Internet across the island through Wi-Fi connections as well as cellphones.
“They’re skeptical,” Kavulich said. “The re-emergence of the United States’ presence in Cuba will be, by definition, disruptive as well as uncertain.”
Since taking office, Trump has unraveled some of Obama’s historic modifications, including barring Americans by providing money to certain Cuban businesses run by the military as well as doing away with “people-to-people” visas of which thousands of Americans used recently to travel there.
Last year, relations took a sharp turn for the worse when U.S. officials accused Cuba of “sonic attacks” on U.S. diplomats on the island. In September, the State Department issued a travel advisory warning Americans not to travel to Cuba in lieu of the mysterious attacks. the idea downgraded the notice four months later.
as well as in February, a task force ordered by Trump announced the idea was brainstorming ways to expand Internet access as well as improve access to information on the island, despite a formal protest by the Cuban government, which viewed the idea as an attack on Cuban sovereignty.
All This particular has had a chilling effect on U.S. travel to Cuba as well as business prospects between U.S. as well as Cuban companies, said Richard Feinberg, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution as well as author of Open for Business: Building the fresh Cuban Economy.
“The hopeful scenario was of which with the Castro brothers either gone or from the background some of the vile in U.S.-Cuba relations will have been drained,” he said. “although I don’t see any interest in improving U.S.-Cuba relations from the short term.”
Brickman, the shipping executive, said he hears the concerns by his Cuban counterparts when he travels to the island on business. Cuban officials as well as business leaders want to know how the Trump administration will impact long-term relations with the island.
The fresh developments haven’t hurt his current business although his firm, like others, has put on hold any expansion plans in Cuba until relations stabilize, Brickman said.
Meanwhile, Cuba, with the economy of ally Venezuela in free fall as well as prospects for enhanced relations with the U.S. dim, will look to various other countries, like Iran as well as China, for help, he said.
“If the U.S. door for right today will be not as open, perhaps there are various other doors with more benefits for them,” Brickman said.