US-Cuba trade numbers hard to follow
By Silvio Canto, Jr.
According to the Obama administration, there is a lot of trading going
on with Cuba. After further review, there is not a lot of trading at
all. In fact, the difference may be somewhere between the $6 billion
that the Obama administration is projecting and about $380 million in
real commerce going on.
This is from The Miami Herald:
The Obama Administration has said that trade with Cuba could reach up to
$6 billion under its new policies, but U.S. companies in fact exported
barely $380 million worth of goods to the island since the beginning of
the thaw in bilateral relations two years ago.
Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said early last year that her
department had issued 490 licenses to companies trying to do business
with Cuba valued at $4.3 billion. More recently, White House spokesman
Josh Earnest said that since late 2014 “more than $6 billion in trade
has been initiated between Cuba and the United States since then, which
obviously has an important economic benefit here in the United States.”
Experts said the administration is exaggerating, and that those numbers
must be put in better context.
Well, put me down as one who never bought this nonsense that Cuba and
the U.S. were doing $6 billion in trade.
First, let’s understand that these are the people who told us you could
keep your health care policy if we wanted to. How did that one work
out? Not hard to be skeptical after that or the nonsense about ISIS
being the J.V. team!
Second, as the article confirms, Cuba’s economy is not growing. Cuba’s
GDP grew by 0.9% in 2016. Cuba’s GDP is $81 billion. How can the U.S.
and Cuba be doing $6 billion in trade?
Third, Cuba does not have the liquidity to pay for all of these U.S.
goods or services. This is because no one is lending Cuba any money,
and the US embargo cuts off access to credit lines in the U.S.
Fourth, the article points out that U.S. exports to Cuba, food items
such as chicken, soya, and corn, actually fell since the Obama
administration eased sanctions on Cuba.
So be cautious with all those expectations about how opening up Cuba
would lead to all of those opportunities on the island.
In other words, there are no opportunities, unless you want to build a
hotel to fly in U.S. tourists. Of course, such investments require you
to have the Cuban government as your partner – the family business, that is!
How can you expect a country with very little purchasing power to buy
We say it again: the Obama policy toward Cuba has not really
benefited U.S. companies or the Cuban people. It has been pretty good
for the Castros and the thugs who protect them.
In time, a free Cuba could return to the economic relationship it had
with the U.S. before 1961. It won’t happen anytime soon as long as
the aforementioned family is running the island for its own gain.
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