Thursday, July 19, 2007

USITC study: U.S. restrictions limit exports to Cuba

Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to estimate the impact on U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba if the United States were to remove certain restrictions on those exports and allow all Americans to travel freely to Cuba.

The answer is in: “The U.S. share of such Cuban imports would rise from one-third to between one-half and two-thirds if the restrictions were lifted,” USITC says. Senator Baucus says that could mean a $300 million increase in U.S. agricultural exports.

The USITC press release is here and the entire report (pdf, 180 pages) is here.

The main impact would come from removal of what USITC terms “financing restrictions” in order to allow agricultural trade to occur on “the same basis as [with] other U.S. trading partners.”

This does not mean extending U.S. government credit to Cuba. It does mean allowing “normal commercial credit,” allowing Cuba to pay via wire transfer to U.S. banks rather than through third countries in non-U.S. currency, and ending the requirement that Cuba’s payment must arrive before goods can leave a U.S. port. The current restrictions, USITC estimates, increase the cost of U.S. goods between 2.5 and 10 percent.


Mambi_Watch said...

Interesting development. It's sure to meet with opposition from the usual supporters of the embargo. But, this report may encourage others to view current US policy a little differently.

I certainly see positive movement on these predictions after '08, despite a Rep. or Dem. President.

Anonymous said...

I love how all you leftwing schmucks sit there on one hand and excoriate and demonize rapacious U.S. multinational corporations for all the misery they supposedly cause in the world, but on the other hand demand that they have full run of the Cuban island. Which is it, schmucks?

Mambi_Watch said...

Speaking for myself, I don't see any contradictions of my position on this matter.

In my opinion, the role of addressing human rights is quite separate from advocating freedoms to engage in business.

I see principles and free markets as two different strands of human relations, which may intersect, but can be easily examined separately.

To call for human rights requires a moral intuition much stronger than what a simple exchange of goods and services requires.

Paying for a cheeseburger doesn't necessarily call for deep introspection, but calling for universal protection of human rights does.

leftside said...

Anon, there is no contradiction under a Government that is able to plan and control investment like Cuba's. Most people in Cuba want US corporations to be allowed to invest and buy things from Cuba. They also want their government to protect their cultural patrimony and prevent foreigners from buying up everything. In short, they want to be part of the global market, but pick and choose which parts will benefit them.