President Obama's decision to ease U.S. restrictions on Cuba sets a prospect for improving the 47-year-old U.S. trade embargo on the island, potentially allowing American companies to gain access to a market that has been dominated by Europe and Canada.
The new regulations, according to U.S. officials, will allow telecommunication companies in the U.S. to apply for licenses in Cuba, end limits on family travel and money transfers to the island.
On the news, Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund, which invests in companies that are likely to prosper from the economic, political, structural and technological developments in countries within the Caribbean Basin including Cuba, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, among others, was up over 28% yesterday. The fund has gained over 76% year-to-date.
Other companies that may benefit from this news and potential future regulatory easing include:
Seaboard Corp is a group of companies that include Seaboard Marine, a containerized shipping service between the U.S., the Caribbean Basin, and Central and South America, as well as Seaboard Foods and Commodity Training and Mining
Watsco A distributor of heating and cooling equipment
Trailer Bridge a provider of integrated trucking and marine freight service to and from the U.S. and Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic
Atlantic Tele-Network a telecom company with offices in Salem, MA and St. Thomas
If restrictions continue to be lifted, the tourism industry could gain as well helping companies like Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Lines as Americans flock to a new resort destination.
Cuba's Economic Timeline (The Canadian Press)
January 1, 1959: Dictator Batista flees Cuba and Fidel Castro takes power
February, 1960: Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Miloyan signs sugar and oil deals with Cuba
June, 1960: Cuba nationalizes U.S.-owned refineries after they refuse to process Soviet Oil
October, 1960: U.S. bans exports to Cuba except food and medicine
February 7, 1962: U.S. bans all Cuban imports
July, 1972: Cuba joins the Soviet-led economic bloc, Comecon
December, 1991: Collapse of Soviet Union ends extensive aid and trade for Cuba
*Cuban economic output plunges 35% by 1994
December 16, 2001: The first shipments of direct U.S. food sales to Cuba in 40 years arrive in Havana
February 19, 2009: Fidel Castro steps down as Cuba's president and is replaced by his brother Raul Castro
Cuban Population: 11.4M
Main exports: sugar, nickel, tobacco, citrus, seafood
Imports: Oil, grains, oilseeds, chemicals, machinery
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