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Trading With Cuba: What is in it for Agribusinesses in Arkansas?

By · November 12, 2015 · 2015 Ark. L. Notes 1788
In categories: Administrative Law, Agricultural Law, Arkansas Law Notes, Business Law, Corporate and In-House Counsel, Featured Story, International and Immigration Law

I. Introduction

From October 6, 2015, to October 8, 2015, the United States Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, was in Cuba for two days of talks focusing on the U.S. embargo against the island nation.[1] While in Cuba, Secretary Pritzker met with the Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment Rodrigo Malmierca, the Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodriguez, and the Vice-President of the Council of Ministers Ricardo Cabrisas. A week before, from September 29, 2015, to October 3, 2015, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and a delegation from the state travelled to Cuba on a trade mission.[2] Accompanying Governor Hutchinson on the trip was the Executive Director of Arkansas Economic Development Commission Mike Preston, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward, Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation President Randy Veach, Dr. Donald Bobbitt, the President of the University of Arkansas System, Dr. Mark Cochran, the University of Arkansas System Vice President for Agriculture, as well as two senators and top executives from leading food and agricultural companies in the state.[3]

Commerce Secretary Pritzker is not the first high-profile public figure to visit Cuba recently and Governor Hutchinson is not the only U.S. governor with eyes on Cuba. Since December 17, 2014, when President Obama announced a significant shift in U.S. policy on Cuba, the small island nation has been besieged by leaders from around the world.[4] In May 2015, President François Hollande of France became the first Western head of state to visit Havana since U.S.-Cuba rapprochement. [5] From April 30 to May 3, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida visited Cuba, making it the first visit ever by a foreign minister of Japan to Cuba.[6] During his visit, Kishida discussed Japan’s interest in launching “large-scale cooperation” with Havana and consolidating economic relations between the two nations.[7] Two weeks ago, from September 29 to 30, the President of Vietnam, Truong Tan Sang, visited Cuba with the aim of strengthening the ties of friendship between Cuba and Vietnam.[8] Other high-profile officials that have visited Cuba since the thawing of U.S.-Cuba diplomatic relations include: the Head of the Vatican, Pope Francis,[9] House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi,[10] the foreign policy chief of the European Union, Federica Mogherini,[11] the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bert Koenders,[12] the Prime Minister and Minister for General Affairs of Curaçao, Mr. Ivar Asjes,[13] the foreign minister of Norway,[14] the Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni,[15] Jaime García-Legaz, Spain’s Secretary of State for Trade, [16] and José Manuel Soria, Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism of Spain.[17]

Aware of the potential benefit to agribusiness of normalized trade relations with Cuba, officials from other states in the Union also have their eyes on Cuba. In April 2015, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo led a high-profile trade mission to the island nation.[18] Following a visit to Cuba by Kansas state officials, on June 11, 2015, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced the Cuba Trade Act of 2015 (S. 1543), a bill that seeks to make it easier for U.S. businesses to export goods and services to Cuba.[19] “What we’re saying is if the market is there, if Cuba can acquire the necessary financing, that’s a great development for American business and for American agriculture,” Moran is quoted as saying.[20] According to Moran, “Cuba is only 90 miles from our border, making it a natural market for our nation’s farmers and ranchers. By lifting the embargo and opening up the market for U.S. agricultural commodities, we will not only boost the U.S. economy but also help bring about reforms in the repressive Cuban government.”[21]

Without doubt, food and agricultural products will feature strongly in Cuba’s unfolding trade relations with the West and the rest of the world. With U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack predicting that U.S. trade with Cuba could rebound from its current $300 million to close to $500 million, agribusinesses in Arkansas stands to benefit.[22] Although U.S. businesses already export some food and agricultural products to Cuba, normalized trade relations with the island nation has the potential to significantly boost economic exchanges between the two countries. This paper offers an assessment of the potential role of food and agriculture in Cuba’s external trade and foreign investment considerations. The paper also examines the competition that U.S. agribusinesses in general, and Arkansas businesses in particular, are likely to face in Cuba. The paper is in four parts. Part II examines food security concerns in Cuba as well as Cuba’s present agricultural imports. Part III maps out the competitive landscape in Cuba, highlighting countries that currently export to Cuba and import from Cuba. Some conclusions are offered in Part IV.

II. Food and Agriculture in Cuba’s Unfolding Economic Relations

A number of factors together suggest that food and agriculture will feature strongly in Cuba’s trade and investment relations with the West and other external partners.

First, food and nutrition insecurity is a concern in Cuba, although the country has made measurable effort to address these problems in the last decade.[23] Poor food diversity and poor dietary practices has resulted in high rates of anemia and other micronutrient deficiencies in Cuba, according to the World Food Program.[24] The collapse of the Soviet Union and with it the loss of petrochemicals, pesticides, agricultural machinery, and fertilizer imports that Cuban agricultural sector depended on undermined the country’s effort to create a highly industrialized agricultural system.[25] As Raj Patel puts it, “[f]rom the Missile Crisis to the twilight of the Soviet Union, Cuba was one of the largest importers of agricultural chemicals in Latin America. But when the Iron Curtain fell, the supply lines were cut, and tractors rusted in the fields.”[26]

Second, Cuba still relies on food imports to feed its population of a little over 11 million people. Cuba imports 70 to 80% of its domestic food requirements, according to the World Food Program.[27] In 2013, Cuba’s imports totaled about USD 6.72 billion and was dominated by food, oil, machinery and chemicals.[28] Cuba’s high dependence on imports for its domestic food requirement makes it highly vulnerable to global price increases and fluctuations, unexpected and disastrous changes in global food supply and the impacts of natural disasters, conflicts, and political upheaval in source countries.

Third, Cuba already imports many of the agricultural products that Arkansas businesses produce and export. According to a 2011 data, Cuba’s top food imports by value were: (1) wheat, (2) maize, (3) whole dried milk; (4) chicken meat, (5) cakes of soybeans; (6) soybean oil, (7) soybeans; (8) food wastes, (9) sausages of pig meat; and (10) dry skimmed milk. Other imports included: beans, malt, cheese, pig meat, wine, pastry, potato, and sugar confectionery.[29] In 2013, Cuba’s top food and agricultural exports were: raw sugar, rolled tobacco, hard liquor and alcoholic preps for beverages, glands and other organs, crustaceans, human and animal blood, and fruit juice.[30]

Fourth, the Cuban government has made Cuba’s food sovereignty and agricultural reform a priority and is taking steps to address food insecurity in the country. According to The World Food Insecurity Report 2015,[31] Cuba is one of 29 countries that has reached both the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 1c target[32] and the World Food Security (WFS) goal of halving the number of hungry people by 2015.[33] Within the context of the Hunger-Free Latin America and the Caribbean Initiative (HFLAC), Cuba has made commitments to eradicate hunger within the term of a generation.[34] HFLAC was launched at the 2005 Latin American Summit on Chronic Hunger and is supported by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. Cuba is also involved in the Plan for Food Security, Nutrition and Hunger Eradication 2025 of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).[35]

 Fifth, the Cuban agricultural sector is ready for massive infusion of capital, credit, ideas, knowledge, and new technology. The agricultural sector in Cuba suffers from low agriculture productivity, climate hazards, soils severely damaged by erosion and high salinity, and limited access to credit. Climate change is a growing concern for Cuba as well.[36] Cuba is yet to fully recover from the hurricanes Gustav, Ike and Paloma in 2008,[37] and Hurricane Sandy in 2012.[38] Over the last eight years, Cuba has suffered more than USD 20 billion in losses as a result of climate hazards.[39] Given the devastation to Cuban agriculture brought on by climate change, Cuba is likely to seek partners that will help it increase agricultural productively, improve food diversity, mitigate adverse climatic factors, and address other climate change-related challenges.

Sixth, the U.S. is already a major supplier of food to Cuba thanks to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (TSRA) of 2000 which allows U.S. firms to sell food and agricultural products to Cuba.[40] Food exports under TSRA are on cash-only basis, however. Whether U.S. businesses can maintain their market share in Cuba and significantly expand this market share is a question that merits serious consideration. In 2014, U.S. businesses exported US$291,258,881.00 worth of food and agricultural products to Cuba under the auspice of TSRA. In 2013, Cuba imported TSRA-authorized food and agricultural products from the United States valued at US$348,747,293.00.[41] According to the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, Inc., in 2014, the top ten food exports to Cuba from the United States were: frozen chicken, soybean oil cake, soybeans, corn, mixed animal feeds, herbicides, frozen pork, frozen turkey, soups/broths, and fresh fruits.

III. What Competition Does Arkansas Agribusinesses Face in Cuba?

Arkansas businesses interested in the Cuban market must contend with fierce competition from other countries. Competition is likely to come from Cuba’s traditional partners as well as a growing number of emerging markets. Businesses in Arkansas should expect competition from the European Union (EU) as a block as well as from individual countries in the EU. Arkansas businesses can also expect competition from China, Brazil, Singapore, and countries like Vietnam and India.[42] China, Spain and Brazil presently rank second, third, and fourth respectively in terms of top destinations for exports from Cuba as well as the main suppliers of goods to Cuba.

A. China

China and Cuba established diplomatic ties with each other fifty-five years ago in 1960. China is Cuba’s second most important economic partner, after Venezuela.[43] Some sources rank China No. 1 in terms of both imports from Cuba and exports to Cuba.[44] Cuba imports a broad range of products from China including machinery, household appliances, energy-saving bulbs, textiles products, vehicles and other means of transportation, footwear and food.[45] In turn, Cuba exports products such as nickel, sugar, seafood, citric fruits, scrap metal, tobacco, biotechnology products and rum to China.[46] In 1988, the China-Cuba Intergovernmental Commission for Economic and Commercial Relations (CMIREC) was established. In 2014 when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Cuba, the two countries reached important agreements on deepening relations with one another.[47] During his June 2015 trip to Cuba, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang called for strengthened planning in cooperation between the two countries in a broad range of areas including infrastructure construction, bio-tech, agriculture and renewable energy.[48] At the conclusion of Premier Yang’s visit, both countries signed an economic and technical cooperation agreement which, according to Ileana Nunez, Cuba’s deputy minister of foreign trade and investment, “reaffirms China as one of Cuba’s strategic partners in fulfilling the 2016-2020 national development programs.”[49]

According to Havana Times, five new agreements (in the areas of agriculture, telecommunications, trade, finances, industry and transportation) were signed during the 27th Cuba-China Intergovernmental Commission held in Havana from January 26 to 28, 2015.[50] The 8th meeting of the Cuba-China Joint Working Group on Biotechnology concluded in June 2015 and focused on five areas: industry, sanitary regulations, health, science and nuerotechnology, and agrocylture.[51] A delegation from Shenzhen City, China’s first and most successful special economic zone, visited Cuba from June 30 to July 1, 2015, to strengthen cooperation in several areas, including investment, biotechnology, public transportation and infrastructure. During the visit, Shenzhen-based battery maker and electric vehicle producer BYD Auto Co., Ltd., reportedly won its biggest order since it entered the Cuban market in 2014; the bid involves the supply of 719 gasoline-powered cars to Cuba.[52]

Already making their mark on the international scene, large Chinese corporations are likely to seek to enter Cuba and other markets in Latin America and the Caribbean soon. According to Chinese Ambassador to Cuba Zhang Tuo, Cuba is not only a market full of opportunities, but is a crucial access to a greater Latin American market due to its unique geographical position in the Gulf of Mexico.[53] Since 2008, China has been expanding investment, contracted projects, and bilateral trade in the Caribbean.[54]

B. European Union

European countries are also showing keen interest in Cuba. In 2013, of the top ten countries in terms of export to Cuba, four were members of the European Union – Spain (No. 2), Italy (No. 6), France (No. 8) and Germany (No. 10).[55] And, of the top ten countries in terms of countries that Cuba exports to, seven were members of the European Union: Spain (No. 3), the Netherlands (No. 4), United Kingdom (No. 5), Belgium (No. 6), Italy No. 8), Germany (No. 9), and Cyprus (No. 10). [56] According to information on the EU Website:

The EU is Cuba’s second most important trading partner (accounting for 22% of total Cuban trade). The EU is the second biggest source of Cuban imports (21%) and was the most important destination for Cuban exports (27%) in 2013. The EU is Cuba’s biggest external investor. Approximately one third of all tourists visiting the island every year come from the EU.[57]

EU relations and cooperation with Cuba are carried out on a bilateral as well as on a regional basis. In October 2008, the EU-Cuba cooperation was reestablished.[58] In November 2008, both sides identified eight priority areas for cooperation: 1) reconstruction and rehabilitation following hurricanes; 2) food security; 3) trade; 4) environment; 5) research & technology; 6) disaster preparedness & risk reduction; 7) culture; 8) non-state actors. On 10 February 2014, the EU adopted negotiating directives for a bilateral EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) to consolidate existing bilateral relations in the areas of political dialogue, cooperation and trade.[59] On 12 August 2014, the EU adopted a new Multiannual Indicative Program for Cuba 2014-2020.

Begun in April 2014, the fifth round of EU-Cuba negotiations for the PDCA was held in Havana from September 9 to 19, 2015.[60] The three main chapters of the PDCA are political dialogue, cooperation and policy dialogue, and trade. The EU and Cuba agreed to speed up the pace of talks aimed at improving bilateral relations and hope to reach the basics of a deal by the end of 2015.[61] According to reports, the two sides have achieved a “near complete” agreement on the trade and economic issues.[62] As already noted, Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, visited Havana on 23 and 24 March, 2015.[63] Mogherini’s visit, according to the EU, was the first visit of a European Union High Representative to Cuba. The EU is also interested in fostering stronger ties with other countries in the Caribbean. Adopted in November 2012, the Joint Caribbean-European Union Partnership Strategy is aimed at enhancing Caribbean-EU relations on a number of fronts.

Individual Member States of the EU are also very keen to enter the Cuban market. The Netherlands stands ready to offer Cuba knowledge and expertise on the fields of agriculture, water management, airport security and healthcare.[64] The two countries are reportedly on the verge of signing a contract for two large investment projects on the island.[65] During his May 2015 visit to Cuba, Cuban Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel and the Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister explored ways to expand bilateral ties and reviewed “the development achieved in economic and trade matters, as well as new opportunities in Cuba for increasing Dutch investment and bilateral trade.” The Netherlands is not alone in the line-up of European countries seeking to snap up lucrative deals with Cuba.[66] At least seventy-five companies accompanied Spain’s Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, Jose Manuel Soria, during his July 2015 visit to Cuba.[67] About one hundred and forty Italian firms accompanied Italy’s deputy minister for economic development Carlo Calenda when he visited Cuba in July 2015.[68] “Our objective is to exploit the potential of developing our presence in Cuba by becoming part of the privatization program announced by the government of the island,” Calenda told the Italian press back in May.[69] According to Calenda, priority sectors for Italy are agro industry, mechanics and tourism. Italy has reportedly reopened the Italian Trade Agency’s office in Havana.[70]

C. Brazil

Cuba and Brazil re-established diplomatic relations in June 1986 and trade between the two countries has been steady, with Brazil enjoying a healthy surplus. Brazil is the fourth largest country (after Venezuela, China and Spain) in terms of exports to Cuba.[71] 9.4% of the total value of Cuban imports come from Brazil. Brazil’s trade with Cuba grew 89% between 2009 and 2013, from USD 331 million to USD 625 million.[72] Brazil’s exports to Cuba grew by 90.5% between 2009 and 2013.[73] Grains such as rice and corn are important components of Brazil’s exports to Cuba. Grains accounted for 20% of the total value of Brazilian exports to Cuba in 2013, followed by vegetable oils (15.5%), and mechanical machinery (9.3%).[74] Brazil is the fourth largest country (after Venezuela, China and Spain) in terms of imports from Cuba.[75] Since 2008, Apex-Brasil, the Brazilian Agency for the Promotion of Exports and Investments, has maintained an office in Havana, Cuba.

Brazil is likely to gain a major foothold in Cuba as a result of the $1 billion Mariel container terminal that was opened in 2014.[76] The Mariel container terminal, the flag-ship and centerpiece of Cuba’s Mariel Special Development Zone (SDZ), was built by Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, was largely financed by The Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), and is operated by Singaporean port operator PSA International. Brazil reportedly picked up two-thirds of the cost of the terminal. Cuba also reportedly used some of the Brazilian funding to build a railway and a highway to Mariel.[77] By some accounts, “[i]n return for the port financing … it was agreed that at least $800 million would be spent on Brazilian goods or services, and Brazilian companies will have a special place in a future special economic zone.”[78]

IV. Conclusion

It is still a long road before U.S.-Cuba trade and diplomatic relations are fully normalized. Many travel and trade restrictions are still in place and, in many respects, Cuba remains a closed economy. It remains to be seen whether the push by some U.S. law makers to lift the decades old embargo against Cuba will bear any fruit. Introduced in February 2015, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015 (S. 299) would loosen travel restrictions to Cuba and remove restrictions on banking transactions incidental to travel.[79] The Cuba Trade Act of 2015 (S. 1543), introduced in June 2015 by U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), also aims at lifting the Cuban embargo. S.1543 would: “[l]ift the Cuba trade embargo to allow farmers, ranchers, small businesses and other private sector industries to freely conduct business with the island nation,”[80] “[g]rant U.S. financial institutions the freedom to extend credit to Cuba, while ensuring there is no financial risk to federal taxpayers;”[81] and would “[m]aintain the current restrictions on federal taxpayer funds being used for trade promotion or market development in Cuba, while explicitly allowing private funds – including producer-funded checkoff programs – to be used for such purposes.”[82] In July 2015, U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor (D-FL14) and Tom Emmer (R-MN06) introduced the Cuba Trade Act of 2015, a bill that also aims at removing existing restrictions on American businesses and travelers.[83]

Should the U.S. lift the existing embargo against Cuba, agribusinesses in Arkansas could see increased exports to Cuba but are likely to face stiff competition from China, the EU, and emerging economies like Brazil and Vietnam.[84] Furthermore, if and when trade relations are normalized, Cuba is likely to insist on reciprocity and is likely to favor countries that are either already importing products from Cuba or are willing to import goods and services from the country. This begs the question: Is Arkansas open to imports from Cuba? In 2013, Cuba’s exports totaled about USD $6.72 billion and included products such as sugar, tobacco, and coffee.[85] The top five products exported from Cuba in 2013 were raw sugar (25%), refined petroleum (15%), nickel mattes (14%), rolled tobacco (14%) and hard liquor (6.7%).[86] In 2013, the top five export destinations for Cuba products were China , Venezuela, Spain , the Netherlands, and United Kingdom. [87] Although the United States is one of the top ten countries that export to Cuba, it is not among the top ten countries that import from Cuba.[88] According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2014 United States exported USD 299.1 million worth of goods to Cuba and imported USD 0.0 worth of goods from the island nation.[89] In 2013 and 2012, Cuba imported goods from the United States valued at USD 359.6 million and USD 464.5 million respectively.[90] For both years, United Stated imported goods valued at USD 0.0 from Cuba.[91]

Judging by the number of high-profile visitors from around the world that Cuba has received since December 2014 when the U.S.-Cuba rapprochement was announced, U.S. businesses will face stiff competition in Cuba from Cuba’s traditional trading partners as well as from new entrants in the world of global trade and investment. Vietnam, a major rice producer, is a good example.[92] Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, visited Cuba in 2014. Two weeks ago, the President of Vietnam, Truong Tan Sang, also paid a visit to Cuba.[93] In Cuba at the invitation of his Cuban counterpart Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, Truong Tan Sang was awarded the José Martí Order, the highest decoration awarded by the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba.[94] Presently, rice accounts for 66% of Vietnam’s total exports to Cuba.[95] In 2014, Vietnam and Cuba signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Industry Sector.[96] At the 32nd meeting of the Vietnam-Cuba Inter-Governmental Committee for Economic, Commercial, Scientific and Technological Cooperation that took place in Havana on October 13, 2014, Cuban Minister of Trade and Foreign Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz, specifically noted that Vietnam was Cuba’s second largest trade partner in Asia and was the leading supplier of rice to Cuba.[97] Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz also expressed his sincere appreciation to Vietnam for its assistance in rice production.

While waiting for U.S.-Cuba trade relations to be fully normalized, agribusinesses in Arkansas can join the conversation on how best to engage Cuba and how U.S. businesses can contribute to food security in the island nation.[98] Some of these conversations are already underway. The U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) was launched on January 18, 2015, with the goal of advancing constructive dialogue in the United States on the U.S.-Cuba relations.[99] More than 30 American agricultural trade organizations and companies are part of the USACC. “We would like to offer high quality, affordable, safe food to the Cuban citizens. Fifty-four years of unilateral sanctions is an experiment that has gone on too long. It is a failed policy and it’s time to offer our two countries a better option” said Cargill’s Vice-President of Corporate Affairs and USACC Chairperson, Devry Boughner Vorwerk, at the coalition’s formal launch in Washington D.C.[100] In March 2015, the USACC led an agricultural delegation to Cuba. Among the 95 people that made the trip were two former U.S. agriculture secretaries, several state agriculture officials and representatives of various state farm bureaus.[101]


[1] United States Department of Commerce, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Arrives in Havana, Cuba, Oct. 6, 2015, See also US Commerce Secretary Pritzker in Cuba for Embargo Talks, BBC News, October 6, 2015,

[2] Asa Hutchinson Heads to Cuba on Trade Mission, Arkansas Business, Sept. 28, 2015.

[3] Executives from a number of companies and organizations in Arkansas accompanied Gov. Asa Hutchinson on his mission to Cuba including executives from the following: Mannco Fertilizer, Safe Foods Corporation, Simmons Foods, Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., Winrock Farms, Inc., Keith Smith Company, Riceland Foods, Inc., and World Trade Center Arkansas. See Eryn Taylor, Arkansas Delegation Looking to Trade with Cuba, Chanel 3 News, September 30, 2015,

[4] President Obama’s historic statement on U.S.-Cuba relations on December 17, 2014, and policy changes introduced after the said announcement are discussed in a separate article by the author. See Uche Ewelukwa, Governor Hutchinson’s Trade Mission to Cuba: Key Legal and Policy Developments that the Arkansas Business Community Should be Aware Of, Ark. L. Notes (CITE).

[5] Dan Bilefsky, François Hollande of France Meets Fidel and Raúl Castro in Cuba, N.Y. Times. May 12, 2015.; See also Elizabeth Pineau, Hollande Becomes First French President to Visit Cuba, Reuters, May 11, 2015.

[6] First Japanese FM to Visit Cuba, Havana Times, Apr. 27, 2015,

[7] Kishida Makes Business Pitch to Havana, Japan Times, 3 May 2015.

[8] President of Vietnam Arrives in Cuba, Granma, Sept. 29, 2015,

[9] Daniel Burke, In Cuba, Pope Delivers Veiled Critique, CNN, Sept. 19, 2015. See also Pope Francis Looks beyond Havana in Cuba Trip, ABC News, Sept. 21, 2015.

[10] Catalina Camia, Nancy Pelosi Leads House Democratic Visit to Cuba, USA Today, Feb. 17, 2015.

[11] Alasdair Sandford, EU and Cuba to quicken push for deal, says Mogherini in Havana, Euronews, March 3, 2015, available at

[12] Janene van Jaarsveldt, Dutch FM: Netherlands Building “Solid Relationship” with Cuba,, May 8, 2015.

[13] Embassy of Cuba in the Netherlands, Prime Minister of Curaçao pays official visit to Cuba,

[14] Norwegian Foreign Minister Visits Cuba, Cuban News Agency, Feb. 2, 2015.

[15] Felipe Pagliery, Italian Foreign Minister Visits Cuba, Havana Times, Mar. 12, 2015.

[16] Marc Frank, Europeans Rush to Seek Cuba Deals in Light of U.S.-Cuba Thaw, Reuters, July 9, 2015.

[17] Telma Rodríguez Medina, Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism of Spain Visits Cuba, Radio Coco, July 7, 2015.

[18] New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Heads High-Profile Trade Mission to Cuba, CNN, Apr. 2015.

[19] Jerry Moran, Sens. Moran and King Introduce Bill to Restore Trade with Cuba, June 11, 2015, available at

[20] Two Senators Introduce Bill Seeking to Lift U.S.-Cuba Trade Embargo, Fox News Latino. June 11, 2015.

[21] Moran, supra note 19.

[22] Jeff Harrington, Agriculture secretary says Cuba trade could grow by hundreds of millions, Tampa Bay Times, Jan. 29, 2015, available at ,

[23] Alexa van Sickle, Cuba and food security, IISS Voices, (Mar. 12, 2014), (observing that Cuba “has faced particular challenges over the last two decades in feeding itself,” but also noting that “there are policy changes that could yield better results.”). See also, World Food Programme, What are the current issues in Cuba,, (observing that Cuba “has largely eradicated hunger and poverty,” is “one of the most successful countries in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)” and “was ranked 44th of the 187 countries in the 2014 UNDP Human Development Index.”.

[24] World Food Program, Cuba: Overview.

[25] Id.

[26] Raj Patel, What Cuba Can Teach US Americans About Food and Climate Change, Future Tense. (Oct. 22, 2015, 10:11 P.M.)

[27] Id.

[28] Observatory of Economic Complexity, See also The Atlas of Economic Complexity, available at

[29] Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Statistics Division,

[30] Observatory of Economic Complexity, Cuba,

[31] Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, The State of Food Insecurity in the World, (2015),

[32] The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight goals that were established at the conclusion of the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000 and following the adoption of the United Nations Millennium Declaration. The eight goals are: to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger (Goal 1), to achieve universal primary education (Goal 2), to promote gender equality and empower women (Goal 3), to reduce child mortality (Goal 4), to improve maternal health (Goal 5), to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases (Goal 6), to ensure environmental sustainability (Goal 7), and to develop a global partnership for development (Goal 8). See generally, We Can End Poverty: Millennium Development Goals and Beyond 2015, available at (offering valuable background information about the MDGs as well as up to date reports about progress countries have made achieving the goals.). See also, United Nations, Millennium Development Goals Report 2015 (2015).

[33] At the World Food Summit held in Rome in 1996, representatives of 182 governments pledged “… to eradicate hunger in all countries, with an immediate view to reducing the number of undernourished people to half their present level no later than 2015”. See Rome Declaration on World Food Security, available at

[34] The Hunger Free Latin America and the Caribbean Initiative, available at

[35] See The CELAC Plan for Food and Nutrition Security and the Eradication of Hunger 2025 (Executive Summary), available at

[36] Patricia Grogg, Farming in Cuba & Climate Change, Havana Times, Sept. 10, 2009, Ivet González, Cuba Wakes Up to Costs of Climate Change Effects, Inter-press Service, June 17, 2013.

[37] Deadly Hurricane Roars into Cuba, bbc news, Aug. 31, 2008 (discussing Hurricane Gustav, a highly dangerous Category 4 storm that lashed Cuba with torrential rain after leaving a trail of destruction across the Caribbean. Noting also that the hurricane brought extensive flooding to the western, tobacco-growing province of Pinar del Rio and to Havana province.).

[38] Marc Frank, Cuban City Struggling to Recover a Year After Hurricane Sandy, Reuters, Oct. 24, 2013. See also International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Cuba: The struggle to recover from Hurricane Sandy Seven Months On, Nov. 5, 2013,

[39] World Food Program, Cuba: Overview.

[40] Title IX of Public Law 106 387 (Oct. 28, 2000).

[41] U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, Inc., Economic Eye on Cuba, Apr. 2015.

[42] Simone Chase, Europeans Position Cuban Investments Prior To US Normalization, Cuba Journal, July 14, 2015, (noting that “European business executives are especially eager to expand on existing relationships with Cuba before the Americans arrive.”).

[43] Pilar Montes, The History and Future of Cuba–China Ties, Havana Times, Feb. 3, 2015.

[44] Observatory of Economic Complexity, See also The Atlas of Economic Complexity, available at

[45] Pilar Montes, supra note 43.

[46] Id.

[47] Chinese Vice Premier in Cuba on Enhancement of Political Cooperation, June 26, 2015.

[48] Id.

[49] Id.

[50] Montes, supra note 43.

[51] Cuba, China to Expand Biotechnology Cooperation, June 29, 2015,

[52] China’s Special Economic Zone Instructive to Cuba’s Future Reform, China Daily News, July 7, 2015,

[53] Id.

[54] Xinhua, “Full Text: China’s Policy Paper on Latin America and the Caribbean,” Nov. 5, 2008, See also Caitlin Campbell, China’s Expanding and Evolving Engagement with the Caribbean (2014).

[55] The Atlas of Economic Complexity, available at,

[56] Id.

[57] EU Relations with Cuba, available at

[58] In October 2008, the European Commission and Cuba signed a Joint Declaration on the resumption of cooperation. Id.

[59] European Union, EU Relations with Cuba,

[60] EU-CUBA: Fifth Round of Negotiations on a Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement, Sept. 10, 2015,

[61] Daniel Trotta, EU, Cuba to Speed Up Talks, Seek Deal by End of 2015, Reuters, Mar. 24, 2015.

[62] Georgi Gotev, EU-Cuba Talks Progress on Trade,, June 17, 2015,

[63] European Union External Action, Press Release: High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini to visit Cuba, April 3, 2014,

[64] The Government of Netherlands, News: Koenders Talks About Opportunities and the Road Ahead in Cuba, Mau 8, 2015,

[65] Id.

[66] Marc Frank, Europeans Rush to Seek Cuba Deals in Light of U.S.-Cuba Thaw, Reuters, July 9, 2015. (observing that “European officials and businesses are visiting Cuba in unprecedented numbers, attracted by its market-oriented reforms and hastened to act by Havana’s improved relations with the United States.”).

[67] Id.

[68] Id. See Italy sees ‘Huge Potential’ in Privatized Trade with Cuba, Progresso Weekly, May 17, 2015,

[69] Id.

[70] Id.

[71] Observatory of Economic Complexity, Oct. 14, 2015,

[72] Patrick Bruha, Commercial Relations: Brazil and Cuba, The Brazil Business. July 11, 2014.

[73] In 2009, Brazil’s exported 277 USD million worth of products to Cuba. By 2013, the value of Brazil’s exports to Cuba rose to 528 USD million.

[74] Id.

[75] Observatory of Economic Complexity, Oct. 14, 2015,

[76] Tracy Wilkinson and Vincent Bevins, In Funding Cuba Port Project, Brazil Set to Gain Key Foothold, Los Angeles Times, Feb. 17, 2015.

[77] Id.

[78] Id.

[79] Jeff Flake, Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015, Oct. 15, 2015,

[80] Jerry Moran, Sens. Moran and King Introduce Bill to Restore Trade with Cuba, June 11, 2015,

[81] Id.

[82] Id.

[83] Alan Gomez, GOP House Member Files Bill to End U.S. Embargo on Cuba, USA Today, July 28, 2015. U.S. Representative Kathy Castor, Press Release: U.S. Reps. Castor and Republican Colleagues File Bill Today to End Cuba Embargo, July 28, 2015,

[84] ICBC, Cuba’s Economic Potential Attracts Entrepreneurs From Europe, China, July 13, 2015, (observing that “[t]he market-oriented reforms in Cuba and its improved ties with the United States have made the Caribbean country an attractive destination for business delegations from Europe and China.”).

[85] Dimitra Defotis, Cuba’s Investing Opportunities, Barrons, July 18, 2015,

[86] Observatory of Economic Complexity,

[87] Id.

[88] Id.

[89] United States Census Bureau, Trade in Goods With Cuba,

[90] Id.

[91] Id.

[92] Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency, Vietnam – Cuba: Exploiting Trade Cooperation Potentials,, (observing that Cuba is considered a potential market for Vietnamese export products and that the successful penetration into Cuba market will provide a basis for Vietnamese companies to access other markets in Latin America region. Noting also that Cuba has great demand for consumer goods such as rice, garments, and shoes.).

[93] President of Vietnam Arrives in Cuba, supra note 8.

[94] Id.

[95] Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency, supra note 92.

[96] Id.

[97] Vietnam-Cuba Inter-Governmental Committee meets, The Voice of Vietnam, Oct. 14, 2014,

[98] United States, Department of Agriculture, Remarks as Prepared for Secretary Tom Vilsack at U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba Event at National Press Club, Release No. 0002.15.


[100] Tom Vandyck, Cargill Helps Launch Drive to End Cuban Embargo,

[101] Marc Frank and Daniel Trotta, U.S. Agriculture Delegation Visits Cuba, Protests Embargo, Reuters, Mar. 2, 2015.