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Invest in Cuba

President Obama is expected to announce that the United States government is going to start on the path to normalized relations with Cuba. This will include opening a US Embassy in Cuba, the first in more than fifty years. According to Voice of America the breakthrough is part of a deal featuring prisoner exchanges and talks about normalizing banking and trade ties as part of a revamp of US-Cuba relations.

U.S. Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said the U.S. and Cuba were moving toward normalized banking and trade ties. He also said the U.S. was poised to open an embassy in Havana in the coming months.

Our interest is how to invest in Cuba. With this thought in minde let us look at  foreign companies that already do business in Cuba.

Foreign Companies Doing Business with Cuba

Roughly 4,500 companies do business with Cuba. Nations whose companies do business with Cuba include the following:

Argentina Ecuador Mexico
Australia Finland Morocco
Austria France The Netherlands
Bahamas Germany Panama
Barbados Greece Portugal
Belize Guatemala Russia
Belgium Guyana Scotland
Brazil Haiti South Africa
British Virgin Island Holland South Korea
Canada Honduras Spain
Canary Islands Hong Kong Sweden
Cayman Islands Ireland Switzerland
Chile Israel Taiwan
China Italy Turkey
Colombia Jamaica Uganda
Costa Rica Japan United Kingdom
Czechoslovakia Lebanon Uruguay
Dominican Republic Luxemborg Venezuela
Denmark Malaysia

The U.S. Cuba Trade and Economic Council lists companies by nation doing business in Cuba.

A small sampling of some of the companies cited in the international media as currently having commercial activities, or having had some commercial activities, or discussing some commercial activities, with enterprises within the Republic of Cuba. There are currently an estimated 4,500 companies from more than 100 countries that “do business in the Republic of Cuba” within such categories as importing to, exporting from, providing services to, or having investments within the Republic of Cuba.

The point being that there are already a lot of nations and many companies with footholds in Cuba. A first step toward investing in Cuba would be to take a look at who is already there and what they are doing to make money.

American Companies Doing Business with Cuba

According to CNBC there already are US companies doing business with Cuba.

In Corpus Christi, Texas, beans are being bagged by the thousands and shipped off to a country that for decades was considered forbidden. That country is, of course, Cuba and the beans being sent there are grown in North Dakota, according to WestStar Food President Pat Wallesen.

He not only can, he has. For the past nine years, Wallesen has been filling entire container ships with 10,000 bags of beans at a time. He says the last shipment he sent to Cuba was worth $3.2 million.

So, how is this legal with an embargo in place? In 2000, Congress passed reforms to that embargo allowing U.S.-based companies to export approved products to Cuba. And it’s not just beans. In fact, there are hundreds of items on a United States Commerce Department list of goods that can be exported to Cuba.

According to AgriLIFE Extensionat Texas A&M, U.S. exports to Cuba peaked in 2008 at $711 million, but that number has declined in recent years. In 2010, AgriLIFE Extension says $94.8 million in corn, $99.8 million in frozen chicken and $17.8 million in wheat were exported from the United States to Cuba.

If you want to invest in Cuba or do business with Cuba look at what others are already doing and you will be ready when relations are normalized.

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