Just as Nixon was the only one able to reestablish a connection between the United States and China, perhaps George W. Bush will be the one to restore relations with Cuba. Given his close ties with Mexico’s new president, Vicente Fox, and his home state’s geographical and cultural proximity to Latin America, Bush could be viewed as the necessary link to normalizing relations between the old trading partners.

In November, President Clinton and the Congress officially legalized the sale of US food, agricultural products and medicine to Cuba. However, before arriving on the President’s desk, the legislation had to jump several hurdles (i.e. debates over restrictions on public or private financing from US institutions, increased travel limitations, etc.). Responses to the final outcome have varied. Some believe it is a step backwards since, in some regards, the new legislation has actually created even greater restrictions on how the countries can interact. Those who see the changes as a positive first step indicate that the process will take time whichever way the US approaches it.

In either case, consulting firm Promar International notes that the recent legislation is causing a surge in US interest in the Cuban market. “The US has several advantages over the competition when it comes to trade with Cuba; the most important being its proximity, which could provide for less expensive and faster shipments,” explains Tom Earley, Promar executive vice president. “Certainly, for US goods to make it in Cuba, the price has to be right and financing must be more flexible.”

“Cuba, si!: Opportunities for US food and agriculture,” a new Promar study, explores the market’s food and agricultural sectors, identifying where the opportunities lie for the United States. The project covers topics such as the condition of today’s Cuban economy, how the country’s food and agricultural markets operate, foreign investment and business alliances that have been formed to date and where the niches might be for US firms within Cuba’s markets. It also looks at the potential implications of Cuban exports of sugar, citrus and other products to the US market. To see a brochure with table of contents and sample pages click here.

About the Company: Located in Alexandria, Virginia, Promar International is a consulting firm specializing in agricultural markets and strategy development for food and beverage companies. Promar is a subsidiary of Genus International, a global consulting and research company serving the entire food chain.