The next few years will be challenging as the United States and Cuba work on re-establishing diplomatic relations and re-opening embassies in each country, Miami attorney Peter Quinter said Friday.
However, he's optimistic that it will happen and that business between the two countries will improve.
On Friday, talks between the U.S. and Cuba did not result in an agreement between the countries. However, negotiations are expected to continue over the next few weeks.
Quinter, former legal counsel for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service in Miami, compared Cuba to China 30 years ago. Now, China is one of the top trading partners of the U.S.
"I hope the 11 million people in Cuba will also understand benefits of a free government, democracy, capitalism and trade with us," he said in an interview with CNBC's "Closing Bell."
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson, speaking at the Foreign Press Center in Washington, characterized the talks as highly productive but noted "this has not been an easy task given our complicated history."
For his part, Quinter believes that despite Cuba's restrictions on business, once the U.S. embargo is lifted, there will be plenty of opportunities.
Right now there is already "significant" business between U.S. companies and Cuban companies thanks to the exceptions to the embargo.
"I think that there are several industries that will grow quickly once the embargo again is reduced," he predicted.
Specifically, he thinks the best opportunities will be in the hospitality industry—cruises, airlines and hotels, as well as telecom and construction.
On Friday, Josefina Vidal, director of U.S. affairs at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, said the Cuban mission is ready to discuss such as lifting the embargo once diplomatic relations are formally re-established.
Despite the lack of resolution in this week's talks, Quinter is positive this is a watershed moment.
"Years from now, five years from now, we'll look back at this time and think what a great thing it was that these negotiations did take place and that they will result in [the] U.S. embassy opening in Cuba and the U.S. flag flying in Havana," he said.
In fact, he is leading a team of 38 Florida lawyers on a trip to Cuba next week to meet with Cuban lawyers in an effort to educate each other on each country's legal systems.
—CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, Everett Rosenfeld and Linda Sittenfeld contributed to this report.