Cuba US Relations by N2WnXf

VIEWS: 4 PAGES: 21

									U.S. Cuban Relations : Free Trade Reality After 40-Year Embargo



       U. S. trade barriers against Americans visiting or conducting business in

or with Cuba are dropping and will fall sooner rather than later.

       But what if an American were in Cuba today, where would he or she stay?

       Answer: At one of the many luxury $200 per day hotels that are being

built every year by European developers.

       And where would he or she eat?

       Answer: At one of the many luxury restaurants that are being opened

every year by European developers.

                               Some Things are Cheaper

       And what if he or she got thirsty while walking the old district admiring the

restoration of the Colonial era buildings to something of their former glory.

Where would he or she get something familiar, like a cold bottle of Coca Cola?

       Answer: From any street vender and at a price probably lower than most

Americans pay at a convenience store. A cold bottle of "Coke" sells for an

average of 75 cents on the Mercado Negro or black market. By comparison, the

same cold bottle of Coke at a convenience store in Hillsborough, NC will cost

$1.04 with sales tax.
       Last year, Webb Patterson Communications published a research paper

on Cuba. We began the investigative report by asking two all-important

questions: what were the current opportunities for investment, and how can a

person succeed in the autocratic environment that has been Cuba for 40 years.

What we discovered was both enlightening and disturbing.

       Two important facts emerged from last year's research: Cuba has proven

itself to be strong enough to resist the American embargo, but it must embrace

tourism and the U.S. dollar in order to survive and prosper.

                                   Cuba In Perspective

       Cuba lies just 90 miles off the southern tip of Florida. Cuba is closer to

Florida than Wilmington, NC is to Raleigh, NC. The island nation is the largest

Caribbean Sea-area country. It is almost as large as the State of Pennsylvania

and as long as Florida. Cuba has almost one-third of the combined populations

of all Caribbean islands. With 11 million citizens, its population is about that of

Illinois. If Cuba were a state within the United States, it would rank 7th in

population.

       Cuba was a founding signatory with the United States of the General

Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Cuba, like the U.S., is a member of the

World Trade Organization. Russia and China are not members. The U.S. and

Cuba are members of many of the same international organizations and are

signatories on many of the same international treaties. More than 600 foreign

businesses maintain permanent offices in Cuba and Cuba maintains commercial

dealings with almost 5,000 foreign businesses in more than 200 countries.




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         Additionally, Cuba maintains diplomatic relations with 164 countries and

78 countries have embassies in Cuba. Cuban diplomatic interests in the U.S. are

handled through the Swiss Embassy in Washington where the Cuban Interests

Section maintains its offices. Likewise, the U.S. interests in Cuba are managed

through the United Sates Interests Section, located at the old U.S. embassy in

Havana.

         At the end of 1999 more than 370 joint ventures and economic

associations were in effect between foreign investors and Cuban interests. These

joint ventures were worth more than $5 billion.

                    Americans Already There in Every Way but Legal

         The United Sates has had a presence there for more than 100 years. It

was in Cuba during what is known there as the Spanish Cuban War that Teddy

Roosevelt's Rough Riders rode their famous. charge up San Juan Hill and helped

propel Roosevelt to the White House. Cuba was the stopping off point for much

of the illegal whiskey that entered America during prohibition. The United States

has had a long and mutually profitable relationship with Cuba until 1960 when

Fidel Castro and his band of revolutionaries pushed the sitting dictator out of

power.

         The United States under President John F. Kennedy established an

embargo to try to force Castro to a more democratic mode of government. The

embargo failed, and Castro has been in power now for four decades.

                      What We Learned: The Dollar Is Everywhere




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       We learned in last year's research that there are many ironies in the

U.S./Cuba relationship.

       Although the embargo has been in place for almost 40 years, the U.S.

dollar has always been in circulation and seven years ago began legal and the

semi-official currency of Cuba. The dollar is everywhere in Cuba. The dollar is

used by all foreign visitors, and it is flowing in by the millions from Cuban-

Americans in the U.S. to their relatives in Cuba. They even have a special term

for money sent by U.S. relatives to their Cuban families. Called Remittances,

the flow of U.S. dollars from Americans to Cuban relatives and hence into the

Cuban economy, totaled more than $350 million in 1999.

       The dollar has created two societies in Cuba. One has access to dollars

and the goods the U.S. currency buys -- the Mercado Negro, and the other

society does not have access. This is a partial explanation of why the cold bottle

of Coca Cola sells for 75 cents in Havana and more than one dollar in North

Carolina.

                      Change is Inevitable and Sometimes Quick

       Much has happened since last year's research paper was published. The

Cuban legislature has passed a law allowing American ownership of private

property in Cuba. An American who visits Cuba frequently investigated the

possibility of building a retirement home near Cienfuegos. Land and house

would set him back about $4,000 in U.S. dollars.

       Economics Minister Jose Rodriquez pointed with some pride several years

ago to significant growth in the nation's economy. The growth rate flattened




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significantly in 1998 to a 1.2 percent rate, and this led to a major restructuring of

the industrial sector, cutting subsidies to unprofitable state-owned enterprises

and allowing some state-owned companies to be taken over b y former military

officers. This privatization has had an effect.

       The reorganization has led to a move away from the communist method of

issuing all instructions and all support from one central point to a system that

gives self-supporting industrial elements greater ability to make decisions.

                    Cuban Diplomat Visits Durham, North Carolina

       Sr. Gustavo Machin, 1st Secretary to the Cuban Interests Section in

Washington (the equivalent to Embassy in a country where the two nations do

not have official diplomatic ties) visited Durham, NC in late June at the invitation

of Webb Patterson Communications. He came to address a select group of

North Carolina businessmen and women who represent a wide scope of the

state's economy. He spoke just hours before Elian Gonzales returned with his

father to Cuba and while he spoke, the U.S. Congress was debating a bill to ease

restrictions on sale of medical equipment and supplies and food to the island

nation.

       "Cuba is moving toward a free market economy, and North Carolina

businesses could be part of that economy 'sooner rather than later'," Machin told

the group.

       Machin is a 16-year veteran of the Cuban foreign service. He represents

the interests of Cuba to the U.S., and says his mission is to lift the embargo. "We

have very good relations with Congress and with the American business




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community and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce," Machin said. "We are now in

a very good position to see the embargo lifted."

                        Webb Patterson Designed The Program

       The program at which Machin spoke was designed by James G.

Patterson, chairman and CEO of the firm to meet a need he said has been

growing rapidly over the past few years.

       "We realized long ago that the trade restrictions placed by the U.S. on

Cuba have left a 40-year vacuum that soon will be opened, and we want to be in

a position to help our clients take advantage of the tremendous. economic

potential that will offer to U.S. companies. But, like everything else, the early

entrepreneurs will get the best and the more conservative will be left to deal with

the rest. We want to be in a position to assist clients in getting there first, but

with proper education and preparation. That's why we at Webb Patterson have

been studying the issues for several years, have made the proper alliances with

training and other services and have established credible relations with the

proper diplomatic sources," Patterson said.

       The United States has had an embargo on trade with Cuba since 1962 in

an attempt to force Prime Minister Fidel Castro out of office. The embargo has

failed and Castro outlived 10 U.S. presidents during that time. The people of

Cuba and American farmers and businesses suffered the most, according to Sr.

Machin.

                             Everything Changed After 1989




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       "For much of the time since 1959, Cuba was part of the socialist bloc, but

by 1989 everything changed. The old U.S.SR dissolved and Cuba lost almost

everything. But instead of failing, the Cuban people pulled together and we

began reforms to improve our economy," he said. "We opened the economy to

foreign investment and saw investments rise from 50 companies in 1994 to more

than 500 by this year. By that time, our economy had increased 35%.

       "The Foreign Investment Act of 1995 forced U.S. to become more efficient

in every aspect of life," Machin said. "When the law was passed, we had about

$400 million in foreign investment. Now telecommunications, mining, oil

production and real estate are the top investment attractions for foreigners. We

also have opened three new free trade zones with more than 400 companies

working out of the free trade zones."

       Machin said other inducements have included return of arable land to

private hands (currently 68% is privately owned), legalization of foreign currency

(the U.S. dollar is the unofficial currency of preference), and institution of a tax

system (currently only corporate, not individual income taxes).

       "Without subsidies from Russia, everything had to become efficient in

order for the nation and the citizens to survive," Machin said. Since 1995, we

have seen a tremendous. growth in our economy. Last year, it was up 6.4% from

the year before."

                        Foreign Investment Act Passed in 1995

       Machine said 1995 was a pivotal year because that was then the Foreign

Investment Act was passed allowing corporate and private investment in Cuba.




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Currently telecommunications, mining, oil production and real estate are the top

investment attractions.

       "From a philosophical point of view, we have nothing against foreign

companies or individuals making money in Cuba," Machin said. "We are very

proud of our social achievements, but we want to improve the economic situation

of the country and the Cuban people."

       In order to achieve those goals, Machin said the Cuban government and

people welcome American investment.

       Using the Cuban reliance on efficiency as an example of why the nation is

interested in trade with the U.S., Machin said the current cost of importing a ton

of rice is $30. It would be less than $14 per ton if shipped from the U.S. Machin

pointed out that the State of Arkansas was the largest supplier of rice to Cuba

prior to the embargo, and Cuban tastes still prefer the American product to that

from other countries. Today, the Republic of Cuba imports from China, Vietnam

and Thailand rice equal to 12% of total U.S. rice exports worldwide.

       "We are very interested in normalization of relations with the U.S.," Machin

said. "With the enactment of our foreign investment law, we now have no

restriction on U.S. Investment in Cuba. We used to buy more than 80% of our

imports from the U.S. and most of our exports came to America. We look

forward to the day when we can return to that status.

                           Good International Businessmen

       "In the past five years, we have learned to be good international

businessmen. We are serious. students of the free market economy and we




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welcome everybody who comes as a friend to share knowledge. Time has

passed and the world has changed, Cuba is no threat to the security of the U.S.

and we really are interested in normalization of trade and private relations with

the U.S.

       Machin pointed out that the current agricultural imports from all sources

are about $750 million per year, far below the $2 billion estimated value of

potential agricultural imports. Last year, U.S. exports to Cuba totaled just $4.6

million, according to N.C. State professor John Dutton.

                          A Market of 11 Million People Awaits

       "Right here in North Carolina, you have a tremendous. potential to sell

pork products, chicken products and soy beans to a market of 11 million people

and your can ship it straight from your magnificent deep water port at Wilmington

directly to any of several ports in Cuba. We also consider the tourist trade to be

very important and hope to see the tourist business rise from 130,000 Americans

to an estimated 3 million in five years after the barriers drop. "

       Responding to a question from one of the seminar participants, Machin

said procedures already are in place to assist Americans who want to establish

business relationships in Cuba, even to assisting in locating space and hiring

assistants. He said the Minister of Foreign Investments has been designated as

the bridge between investors and Cuban enterprises.

       "America is a very pragmatic country," he said. "It is very important to

Americans to do the right thing at the right time. I believe the right thing to do at




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this time is reestablish the lost connection between our peoples and our

governments."

                       Trade Bill Would Require Cash Payments

       The trade bill referred to above would liberalize restrictions on the sale of

some foodstuffs and medical supplies to Cuba, but provisions in the bill would

also require that the Castro government pay cash for everything American. The

Cuban trade provisions are part of a much larger piece of legislation that also

formalizes trade between the U.S. and countries such as Libya and North Korea.

There are no cash for product provisions placed on the other countries included

in the proposed law. Farm state legislators called the cash requirement a

"legislative hoax."

       Based on the above potential, it is time to take a snapshot look at the

realities of the Cuban market and the difficulties that hinder U.S. participation at

this time (Summer of 2000).

       United States companies have been allowed to business in Cuba even

under the embargo. Delta, Continental and United for example, have

continuously had approved air routes that include a New York, Los Angeles, San

Francisco, New Orleans, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Miami, Baltimore,

Boston, Dallas, Houston, Newark, Boston and Philadelphia/Havana link among

others that include airports in Cuba. The airlines have not used those approved

air routes during the embargo, but that was by choice, not by U.S. government

mandate.




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        United Airlines aircraft regularly area Used by the charter services

between Miami and Havana. There are more than 10 flights per week operated

by three U.S.-based charter companies Using United Airlines planes, and the

U.S. government has authorized additional charter airline passenger services

from New York City and Los Angeles to Havana. Additionally, 40 international air

carriers have regular flights to and from Cuba and 31 have permanent offices in

Cuba.

        U.S. companies may do business in Cuba either under a general license,

which means no written authorization is required, or by specific license which

requires a written license that spells out limitations on the business activity. The

licenses are issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United

States Department of the Treasury. Some licenses may be issued by the Bureau

of Export Administration of the United sates Department of Commerce.

        Companies that receive permission to trade in or with Cuba may:

       Execute and implement contracts within the fields of agricultural products,

               air charter services, artwork, communications, cultural events,

               entertainment, exhibitions, farm supplies, food sales, informational

               materials, medical equipment, medical instruments, medical

               supplies, medicated products, medicines, money transfer services,

               package delivery services, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications;

               and travel services.

       Visit the Republic of Cuba to identify commercial opportunities within the

        fields of interest listed above.




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       Register trademarks and patents.

       Provide camera-ready artwork for advertising on television, in

       newspapers and magazines.

       Execute non-binding letters of intent.

       Provide funding to entrepreneurs.

       Make donations of products for humanitarian purposes.

       Have executives lecture at educational institutions.

       Authorize consumer credit cards to be valid for Use.

       Have indirect non-controlling investments in the Republic of Cuba

       OFAC in March of 1994 issued an opinion that authorized U.S. businesses

or individuals to make secondary market investments in a thirty-country business,

which has commercial dealings within the Republic of Cuba. Restrictions

include: the U.S. company may not have control of the third-country business

and the third-country company may not derive a majority of its revenues from

activity within Cuba. An investment that results in less than a controlling interest

of the third-country business is not prohibited.

       Between 1980 and 1993, the value of U.S.-owned foreign subsidiaries

trade with enterprises inside Cuba and licensed by OFAC was $4.563 billion. Of

this total, $2.637 billion was the value of exports from U.S. subsidiaries to Cuba

and $1.926 billion was the value of Cuban exports to U.S. subsidiaries. During

this period virtually no license applications were denied by OFAC and almost

3,000 licenses were granted (2,938).




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       Implementation of the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 put a halt to sale of

bulk food commodities, continued the continuation of most U.S.-owned foreign

subsidiaries' trade within Cuba (hence the availability of a cold Coca-Cola), but at

the same time added new licensed and non-licensed opportunities for artwork,

communications, entertainment, informational materials, medical equipment and

instruments and supplies, medicated products, medical, pharmaceutical,

publishing and telecommunications industries. The value of permitted U.S.

business activity within Cuba from October 1994 through December 1999

exceeded $750 million.

       Executives of Time Warner and other communications companies recently

visited Cuba to discuss the export and import of music, films, and publications.

Johnson & Johnson and other companies have received licenses from the

Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) to sell products within Cuba. AT&T,

LDDS/Metromedia, MCI, Sprint, Wil-Tel and IDB WorldCom currently provide

long distance telephone and data services between the U.S. and Cuba.

       As of the end of 1999, OFAC had issued almost 250 travel- and service-

related licenses to more than 125 U.S.-based companies including American

Airlines, American Express Travel Related Services, Western Union Financial

Services and Moneygram Payment Systems. The licenses are renewed every

12 months and authorize the U.S.-based companies to provide series for

individuals subject to U.S. law while traveling to Cuba and for sending funds to

Cuba. In addition, new rules allow U.S. Airways Dividend Miles program




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participants to accrue mileage credits fro travel to and from or through Cuba even

though the airline does not currently provide service to Cuba on a direct basis.

                                Specific Industry Pictures

       Tourism - Before 1959, 85% of all foreign tourists visiting Cuba were U.S.

citizens. In 1985, around the beginning of the new emphasis on tourism,

approximately 250,000 foreign visitors, mostly from Canada, Mexico, Spain,

Germany and Italy visited Cuba. That number doubled by 1993 and in 1999

more than 1.65 million tourists brought almost $2 billion in U.S. dollars into the

country. The Cuban tourist industry expects direct and indirect revenues of $2.5

billion in 2000, including more than 150,000 visitors from the United States.

       One international civil aviation consultant estimates that the U.S.-Cuba air

travel could reach 5.2 million passengers per year and the economic impact on

the U.S. airlines could surpass $1 billion annually within the next five years. The

same consultant projects there could be an additional financial benefit of more

than $2 billion in sales of U.S. aircraft to Cubana Airlines.

       Car Rentals - Currently, three vehicle rental agencies in Cuba offer

Nissan, Suzuki, Diahatsu, Toyota, Mercedes Benz and Renault. The rental

agencies purchased a large number of 1999 model Chrysler and Ford passenger

vans at the end of 1999 and increased the number of private Cuban tourism

businesses, has more than 400 imported passenger vehicles for rent to tourists.

       Hotels - Ten years ago, there were 13,664 hotels rooms of acceptable

international quality in Cuba. These were located in 181 hotels Used exclusively

for tourists. Only 13 were five-star rating and 45 were four-star. A huge building




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boom of hotels by foreign investors took place after 1995 and as of January 2000

there were more than 30,000 hotel rooms of four-star or better rating. Grupo Sol

Melia S.A. of Madrid currently managers 12 hotels in Cuba and has announced

plans to build 24 more in the next five years. Days Inn has requested U.S.

Government approval to include Cuba in its joint venture agreement with a

Canadian hotel company.

      Cruise Ships - The Cuban government has committed more than $12

million to construct and renovate cruise ship terminals in Havana, Mariel and

Santiago de Cuba. The terminals now are served by Club Med II, the Aida, the

Prince Danae, the Triton and the Costa Prima.

      Banking and Financial Services - MasterCard and Visa are permitted to

be Used in Cuba by individuals not subject to U.S. law. The cards must not be

processed by U.S.-based financial institutions. American Express cards are

being used as well. Visa charges in 1999 exceeded $190 million and

MasterCard charges were more than $90 million during the same time.

Banamex, Mexico's largest financial conglomerate, has a joint venture with a

Cuban firm to process receivables and issue consumer credit and charge cards.

      Communications - Sprint Communications has U.S. government

approval to provide data services transmission between the United Sates and

Cuba. IDB Worldcom Services has U.S. government approval to provide direct

telex service between the United Sates and Cuba. There are more than 1,000

Users of the Internet in Cuba. Private enterprises, organizations and ministries

can send and receive E-mail and access other Internet services. DHL Courier




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has a full service office in Cuba and documents sent from or to the U.S. arrive in

three or four days via Mexico. TIMSA a Mexican joint venture operates a cellular

telephone system in Cuba. Phones may be purchased or rented on a daily

basis.

         Consumer Goods - Pierre Cardin has announced a commercial outlet for

his designer clothes in the year 2000. Benneton already has retail stores in

Havana and other larger cities. More than 1,000,000 bicycles were imported

from China for sale in Cuba last year. The most popular products in stores that

accept U.S. dollars include Campbell Soup, Heinz, Del Monte, Libby's, Kraft, La

Choy, Bumble Bee, Progresso, Uncle Ben's, Planter's, Gerber, Hellman's Motts,

Ragu, Tabasco, A-1, Vlasic, Mars and Purina. Gross revenues of these products

in Cuba in 1999 exceeded $900 million.

         Construction - OFAC recently approved a license to a New Jersey

construction company to remodel the Embassy of Germany in Havana. The

contract was worth more than $300,000.

         Printing - Berkeley, California-based Inkworks Press has a license from

OFAC to import graphic designs from Cuba for Use on cards, tee shirts and other

products.

                House Votes To Ease Limits on Cuba Trade and Travel

         Heading arguments from "pro-normalization" members, the U.S. House of

Representatives voted 232 to 186 on July 20, 2000 to stop enforcing rules that

limit the ability of Americans to travel to Cuba and four other nations -- Iran,

Libya, North Korea and Sudan. Minutes later on a 301-116 vote, the House




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voted to halt enforcement of rules banning U.S. exports of food and American

medicine to Cuba. The votes immediately were seen as a major victory for farm,

business and other groups trying to ease the 40-year-old sanctions against

Castro's government. Supporters of the provisions to ease restrictions argued

that increased contacts would help weaken Castro's hold over the communist

nation. Sponsors of the move to ease trade and travel embargoes said the result

would be to accelerate the drive4 toward freedom in Cuba, some of them

championing the motto of farm state Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan. Who often said of

the bill, "Personal freedom follows economic freedom."

                          House and Senate Versions Differ

      The House version of the sanctions bill was on a bill financing the

Treasury Department, which enforces trade sanctions, and smaller agencies.

The Senate passed a bill the same day to permit food and medical sales to the

five countries. The Senate legislation was the spending bill for the Agriculture

Department. The Senate also was slated to consider a version of the Treasury

Bill that has no language on Cuba trade, but Kansas and Montana lawmakers

had amendments in hand. The Senate version also prevents a president from

blocking such shipments without congressional approval. Sanctions are a major

consideration for American farmers and the U.S. economy, because agricultural

exports add billions of dollars to America's positive balance of payments and

hundreds of thousands of jobs to the work force.

      Legislative observers and Cuba watchers expect the big battle over

sanctions to occur in September when a Senate-Senate conference committee




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meets to settle differences over the agriculture spending bill. Most at stake

during that conference session will be the provisions in the House bill governing

financing restrictions. Those restrictions do not appear in the Senate version.

                                   A Significant Example

       A good example of the impact Cuba could have immediately on American

agricultural output is the pea production of Washington, North Dakota and

Montana where growers produced 250,000 metric tons last year. They would

have produced more had they been able to find markets. Cuba during the same

period imported 170,000 metric tons of peas, all from Canada.

       Cuba has been under agricultural and other sanctions since July 1963,

longer than any other country except North Korea.

       Until the bill gets Senate confirmation and is signed into law by the

president, current restrictions still apply.

                      Warning To Fully Hosted Business Travelers

       One way U.S. citizens have traveled to Cuba was through the "fully

hosted" package. Basically it works this way: A U.S. citizen buys a package

deal from a foreign travel agent who sells everything from air fare to hotels and

food at a package price. Usually the fully hosted visit is in conjunction with a

specific, approved conference. The traveler may not travel directly from a U.S.

location, but leave for Cuba via a third country.

       "Fully hosted" means that all expenses within Cuba, including travel to and

from Cuba, are paid for by an individual or organization no subject to United

States law. No direct or indirect payments are permitted. A fully hosted traveler




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may return to the United States with an unlimited amount of informational

materials and an unlimited amount of artwork. The fully hosted traveler may not

return to the Untied States with any other Cuban-produced products, such as

cigars, rum, coffee, tee-shorts, etc.

       New rules just released by OFAC indicate a closer evaluation of those

traveling under fully hosted status. And clearly show that most U.S. citizens

traveling that way will be deemed to be in violation of OFAC regulations.

                       Potential Is Huge…Then Add "Returnees"

       Economists predict huge developing markets for U.S. goods once the

embargo is lifted, but most admit their estimates are based solely on the 11

million Cubans currently on the island nation and do not include the millions more

expatriates who want to return home.

       Among the industries already gearing up for major opportunities include

the U.S. health care companies and homebuilders.

       Representatives of New Jersey's health care companies already have

visited Cuba to assess the market, which they estimate will grow to more than $1

billion annually within three years.

       Sergio Pino, one of the largest homebuilders in southern Florida left his

native Cuba at age 12. He built a career in home construction and he built an

investment nest egg, which he hopes to Use to build affordable housing once the

embargo is lifted.

       "One of the biggest needs in Cuba is housing," Pino says, "and there are

as many as 2 million people of Cuban ancestry who will return. "




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       According to Miami business consulting firm T. Babun, there is a 100,000

unit deficit in housing. Often several generations of a single family share a home.

       Pino says he has raised more than $61 million in three years to invest in

building homes in Cuba. The 43-year-old entrepreneur says he will have no

trouble raising additional funds as needed, because the opportunity is too good

to pass up.

                   Extreme Caution Urged for Fully Hosted Travelers

       Extreme caution should be taken. There no longer is a presumption of

innocence. There now is an automatic presumption of guilt and fines can and

probably will be assessed. Criminal penalties for violations range up to 10 years

in prison and a fine of $1 million in corporate fines, $250,000 in individual fines

and up to $55,000 in civil penalties.

       Any U.S. citizen traveling under fully hosted status must produce receipts

for all daily expenses within Cuba and the receipts must demonstrate that all of

the expenses were paid by someone not subject to United States law.

       It should be noted that "fully hosted" travel is already unnecessary for the

most part in light of the increasing number of licenses been granted to U.S.

citizens by OFAC for travel to Cuba for a wide variety of purposes, especially for

business travel.

       At this time, it also is highly advisable for U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba to

Use only travel agents that have been licensed by the OFAC. Contact Webb

Patterson Communications for more information.

                         Short Term Plans for Cuban Visitation




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        Based on response to the recent visit by Cuban diplomat Gustavo Machin

to Durham, Webb Patterson has been asked by several business organizations

to host an educational trip to Cuba. The company has been invited by

agricultural interests to plan a visit in order to establish business contacts for the

sale of North Carolina agricultural products, and several pharmaceutical and

medical technology companies have expressed interest through their agents to

join the trip.

        By Jim Singleton

        Free-lance writer and journalist

        Hillsborough, NC




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