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Cuba market may be opening but legal hurdles can’t be ignored

| Oct 7, 2015 | Business Formation & Planning |

Business growth depends on being able to take advantage of opportunities as they open up. That’s something that wise North Carolina entrepreneurs understand, as do those in legal practice with a focus on advancing and fulfilling a company’s goals and objectives.

Right now, Cuba appears to be a market glittering on the horizon. After decades of embargoed trade, the window of opportunity appears to be opening, if only slightly. And the hope that it could eventually be thrown open further is prompting some in North Carolina and other states to test the waters. Before hopes soar to high, though, we might do well to conduct a survey to understand the nature and scope of possible legal hurdles.

That potential business opportunity may exist can’t be denied. But experts differ on where the lowest hanging fruit may be. Fox News’ online Latino news outlet reports that agricultural interests from North Carolina and other states are making junkets to Havana to explore the possibilities.

One such trip has the head of the state’s Farm Bureau saying that expected increases in foreign tourism to Cuba means demand for “good food” is bound to increase. He says North Carolina is in a good position to meet that demand.

Politico offers the flip side to the coin in another report. It notes that already-existing trade between the U.S. and Cuba is on the decline even as talks about new opportunities begin. And foodstuffs appear to be among the items taking the greatest hit. U.S. farm exports to Cuba went from $710 million in 2007 to $291 million last year. So far this year, they’ve fallen to $122 million.

Experts attribute some of that decline to competition on the global market. But some experts say Cuba’s government, controlling the flow of all goods through its state-owned enterprise, Alimport, is using the firm as a political tool.

As William Falconer is quoted as saying, “The effect of sailing is produced by a judicious arrangement of the sails to the direction of the wind.” That would also seem to apply if the word used is “sales.”

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