UNO September 2016

Cuba, New Challenges and Opportunities

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Following the historic meeting between Raúl Castro and Barack Obama, bilateral relations between the United States and Cuba and Cuba’s relations with the rest of the world are entering a new phase.

We are witnessing a new era, one that has generated a very positive outlook for the possibilities around Cuban trade and economic openness. This is a virtually untapped market, from which interesting business opportunities are arising for companies that know how to identify new business projects and investment opportunities that are profitable for both parties.

However, Cuba’s institutional and business environment bears no resemblance to that of any other country in the world, and its economic model has some unique characteristics. Despite the country’s growth potential, its GDP has not increased as expected and is lower than the regional average. Additionally, there has been a decline in exports of goods and services, as well as a reduction in revenue from traditional exports such as sugar and oil products. The Cuban government, aware of the need to boost the economy, is seeking to attract foreign investment in order to establish sustainable economic development for the country (aiming for $2.5 billion a year, according to the Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca).

We are witnessing a new era, one that has generated a very positive outlook for the possibilities around Cuban trade and economic openness

In this edition of UNO, we seek to examine this new political and economic phase the island is going through, providing different perspectives and points for reflection. Cuba has a close relationship with Latin America and the companies in the region, which, taken together with the important presence of Spanish companies, can play a leading role in helping Cuba take advantage of its position, as long as it develops a comprehensive, global and strategic method for deploying business intelligence that stays in line with its reality.

Jose Antonio Llorente
Founding Partner and Chairman of LLORENTE & CUENCA Spain / U.S.A.
Jose Antonio Llorente as a specialist in Corporate and Financial Communication, over the course of a career spanning more than 25 years, he has provided consultancy services on numerous corporate transactions: mergers, acquisitions, divestments, joint ventures and stock market floatations. Mr. Llorente was the first Spanish professional to have received the SABRE Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement, a European award presented by The Holmes Report.Mr. Llorente worked at the multinational Burson-Marsteller for ten years, where he was Managing Director. He currently sits on the Board of Trustees of the Euroamérica Foundation and the Steering Committee of the Spanish Association of Minority Shareholders of Listed Companies. He is also a member of the Advisory Council to SMEs of the Spanish Confederation of Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises, the Steering Committee of the Agencies of Spain Association and the Advisory Council of Executive MBA in the Management of Professional Services Organisations organised by Garrigues. José Antonio has a degree in Information Sciences from the Complutense University of Madrid, and specialist in Public Affairs at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and The Henley College. @jallorente [United States - Spain]

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