Last week, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) released a new report on trade relations with Cuba. Through a comprehensive analysis of the past and present trade relations, the report projects the potential economic impact of lifting the embargo on Cuba. While dependent on the enactment of policies in Cuba, the USITC estimates that agricultural and manufactured goods exports could increase by approximately $1.4 billion in the medium term. That amount could rise as high as $2.2 billion if Havana undertakes additional market-opening policies that are common in other developing countries.
Prior to the implementation of trade restrictions, the United States and Cuba had strong trade relations. In 1960, Cuba was our seventh-largest export market. In 2014, U.S. exports to Cuba were only $299 million, ranking as our 125th-largest export market. Despite the obvious economic and political differences, there are also a number of natural connections between the two countries. U.S. suppliers will have the benefit of price, quality and proximity to compete with Cuba’s current trading partners.
Earlier this month, the Cuban government made its first purchase of U.S. commercial equipment since the renewal of diplomatic relations. Alabama-based GulfWise Commerce agreed to sell more than $100,000 in agricultural equipment to Cuba. The ongoing regulatory dialogue between the two nations will continue to open new opportunities for U.S. business in the Cuban market. To fully unlock the mutually beneficial economic development outlined in the USITC report, Congress must act to lift the trade embargo.
For additional information on U.S.-Cuba relations, visit the NAM’s new issue page.
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