What if Cuba Opens Up?

I’ve been a bit stunned by the recent events between the U.S. and Cuba. President Obama lightened up some restrictions and Raul Castro made statements that they are willing to talk and everything is on the table.

It still may not come to pass but it’s a bit more feasible today that trade and travel may open up significantly between the two countries. Fidel Castro walked back Raul’s statement today but it’s still a very interesting possibility if not inevitable.

As a thought experiment, let’s say this does come to pass in the next couple of years. What will be the impact of open trade between the U.S. and Cuba? What opportunities will it create?

A few things I can think of include:

  • Knowledge transfer on almost any business or professional topic you can think of;
  • Cuba expertise;
  • Start-ups;
  • Acquisitions;
  • Privatization of government operations;
  • Huge flow of people both ways on business assignments;
  • Tourism and travel;
  • Infrastructure (from roads to water to telecom).

I would anticipate South Florida becoming a staging point for all things Cuba, creating a huge local boom in the economy. A colleague pointed out to me that Tampa was historically a major port for Cuba trade and could become so again, bringing investment to that area.

For my association colleagues, what might an open Cuba mean for your members, profession or industry?

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