Cuba Document Archive | Economic Opportunity

CLALS Cuba economic oportunities

Workers in Havana / Photo credit: Zoriah / Foter / CC BY-NC



In his article, LeoGrande analyzes the new foreign investment law that was passed during a special assembly of the Cuban assembly and calls it a “key component of President Raul Castro’s program to ‘update’ the economy.” Motivated by a crisis in the external sector, Cuban leaders are looking for a way to boost direct foreign investment with the new law, which offers substantially better terms to foreign investors than the 1995 law it replaces.

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The Ley de la Inversión Extranjera (Foreign Investment Law) was enacted in March 2014 to encourage sustainable development in Cuba, while still preserving national sovereignty. The law permits, with certain restrictions, foreign investment in most sectors of the economy on competitive terms. It also clarifies foreign investors’ rights and opportunities in Cuba, including assurances that their investments will not be expropriated without due monetary compensation.

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The New Cuban Economy: What Roles for Foreign Investment?

By Richard Feinberg (Brookings Institution, December 2012)

This paper explores Cuba’s historic stance on foreign direct investment and considers the possibility of incorporating greater participation from international markets into the Island’s economy. The author estimates that Cuba could bring much-needed revenues to its citizens by partnering with core global financial institutions.

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Supporting Small Business in Cuba: Recommendations for Private and Public Sector Leaders

(Cuba Study Group, April 2011)

This document, which originated as a working paper from a summit on economic development in Cuba, explores how small businesses can help the Cuban economy grow to the benefit of both private and public sectors. Based on the actions of similar governments like Bolivia, China, Vietnam, and Singapore, it outlines ideas and plans to encourage the development and success of small business in Cuba for optimal economic expansion. It also encourages the U.S. to reform its economic policy toward Cuba for the benefit both countries.

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The United States and Cuba: Implications of an Economic Relationship

Edited by Jose Raúl Perales (Woodrow Wilson Center Latin American Program, August 2010)

Based on discussions that took place at a conference on U.S.-Cuban relations, this article summarizes the economic relationship between the United States and Cuba. The author argues that lessening trade and travel restrictions between the two countries would drastically improve both nations’ economies and prompt major growth in the industries of agriculture and tourism.

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Estimated Economic Impacts of the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2010

By Parr Rosson, Flynn Adcock, and Eric Manthei (Texas A&M University, March 2010)

This study estimates the potential economic value of removing the travel ban from Cuba. It estimates that thousands of new U.S. jobs would be created, and that the ability to freely export U.S. agricultural products would prompt major economic growth in that sector.

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Vacation Over: Implications for the Caribbean of Opening U.S.-Cuba Tourism

by Rafael Romeu (IMF Working Paper, July 2008)

This working paper from the International Monetary Fund considers the ramifications of opening Cuba to tourism. It claims that increased levels of U.S. tourism in Cuba would threaten the economic well-being of other Caribbean island nations, which are dependent on the hospitality industry fueled by American travelers.

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U.S. Agricultural Sales to Cuba: Certain Economic Effects of U.S. Restrictions

(United States International Trade Commission, July 2007)

This report analyzes Cuban purchases of U.S. agricultural products, the role of government restrictions in preventing the purchase and sale of Cuban products, and the potential increase in exports that would result from lifting the travel ban and embargo. Considering a variety of scenarios, this report indicates that “all agricultural sectors would likely benefit from the lifting of financing restrictions” on U.S. exports to Cuba. 

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Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000

(FAS Online, 2000)

This piece of legislation requires unilateral agricultural and medical sanctions to be terminated toward countries with which the United States is not at war. It does not, however, allow for expanded trade with nations on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list held by the State Department, and it strengthens travel restrictions to Cuba. 

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