BY MIMI WHITEFIELD
Regulations governing the United States’ new commercial opening toward Cuba were announced in January, but so far there have been few takers.
Most businesses are still kicking the tires when it comes to Cuba and trekking to the island, often with lawyers in tow, to assess the opportunities and risks. A trade delegation led by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week, however, reported progress had been made on deals in the telecom and healthcare fields — two areas where U.S. businesses are allowed to engage with the Cuban government under the new U.S. Cuba policy.
But even when Cuba is removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, a designation that carries some financial sanctions, analysts say they don’t expect it will set off a business stampede either.
“I think people are reevaluating but they are waiting until the 45-day waiting period is up before taking the next step,” said Fernando Capablanca, managing director of White Cap Consulting Group and president of the Cuban Banking Study Group. “I think everyone wants to pay it very safe — what’s 45 days after 55 years?”
In December President Barack Obama announced a new policy of engaging Cuba after more than half a century of trying to bring about change through isolating the island, and on April 14, he informed Congress that he intended to remove Cuba from the terrorism list, starting the clock ticking on the waiting period.