US allows imports of privately produced products from Cuba
BY MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN AND ANDREA RODRIGUEZ ASSOCIATED PRESS
02/13/2015 2:56 PM 02/13/2015 2:56 PM
The Obama administration is announcing that it will allow Cuba’s small
private business sector to sell goods to the United States in a
potentially important loosening of the half-century trade embargo on the
A list published by the U.S. State Department Friday said Americans will
be allowed to import anything produced by Cuban entrepreneurs with the
exception of food and agricultural products, alcohol, minerals,
chemicals, textiles, machinery, vehicles, arms and ammunition.
The imports would have to be produced by a Cuban operating in one of the
dozens of categories of private business allowed by the Cuban
government. Most of the categories are for services like car maintenance
or watch repair, not potentially exportable goods. What’s more,
virtually all Cuban exports are produced and shipped by state-controlled
enterprises and there is no indication that the government is willing to
loosen control and allow private businesses on the island to start
trading directly with firms overseas.
In short, no one should expect Cuban goods to start flowing to the U.S.
in large quantities anytime soon, said Pedro Freyre, head of
international practice at Florida-based law firm Akerman LLP.
However, the possibility of exporting Cuban goods to a massive market 90
miles away could inspire private businesses to begin developing products
designed for export to the U.S., he said.
“It sets up the mechanism. It allows things to happen,” he said. “Now
folks have got to make things happen, which is an entirely different
Cuba began allowing widespread private enterprise in 2010 as economic
stagnation forced the state to weigh large-scale job cuts. The number of
people employed in private businesses grew to 483,396 this year and
appears to have stalled at roughly that number due to a lack of domestic
demand. More than a quarter of private jobs are in food sales,
transportation and housing rental.
A potential source of exports to the U.S. is the new category of
worker-owned cooperatives, which function in many ways like
entrepreneur-owned businesses but are more closely integrated with the
state bureaucracy and may find it easier to export than entirely private
Source: US allows imports of privately produced products from Cuba | The
Miami Herald The Miami Herald –