Is International Expansion into Cuba Right for Your Business?
You may be asking: What is the buzz about Cuba? And, are there international business expansion opportunities for us?
Given our focus on helping clients grow internationally, we are asking the same question. Over the last couple of days, we have sat in on a webinar about international expansion into Cuba and attended an event titled “Cuba – The Next Frontier” that was sponsored by Automation Alley. Our brief education has certainly not made us experts on Cuba, but it has given us perspective on some of the basic challenges companies will face as they explore international expansion to this new market.
Here is a brief summary of our findings:
- Travel restrictions to Cuba have been eased. Tourist travel is still prohibited, but there are many other reasons individuals can travel to Cuba, such as professional and research meetings.
- There are no commercial flights to Cuba. Charter services must be used.
- Cuba is still under a US embargo. Until congress lifts this embargo, trade opportunities will be limited.
In my mind, the US embargo is the biggest basic issue our clients will need to address before an expansion into Cuba can be developed and implemented. Keep an eye on congress and what the next election holds.
With a population of 11.2 million people, Cuba is certainly a market many US companies will be interested in serving. In addition, many US residents with Cuban heritage will be interested in reestablishing family ties and this too, will likely lead to increased commerce between our two countries. But be patient, because it looks to us like it will take some time and legislative efforts to open this market for U.S. goods and services.
If you are interested in exploring Cuba further, you may want to join the Automation Alley trade mission planned for the fall of 2016. Please feel free to contact Noel Nevshehir, Director, International Business Services, Automation Alley.