The Obama Administration is expected to ease travel restrictions on Cuba soon. One observer says the move is welcome, but a bolder step would bolster Kentucky business there.
Larry Luxner publishes a monthly newsletter on Cuba (The Cuba News). He says Kentucky businesses began laying groundwork to sell agricultural products to Cuba, but the potential is largely unrealized. If travel restrictions were to be dropped completely, he says, the subsequent flood of tourists would increase the nation’s demand for locally-produced goods such as whiskey and produce.
“They really don’t have much money to spend on food imports and so they’ve been turning to other, cheaper sources of food exports, because the cost of doing business with the United States is too high,” he says. “If we had substantial numbers of Americans traveling to Cuba, I believe Cuba would have a new source of cash. There would be a demand for quality food products and that in turn, I think would spark food exports to Cuba.”
Luxner says another possible solution would be to allow Cuba to trade goods to the United States on credit. Luxner writes about Kentucky businesses and Cuba in the latest issue of the Lane Report.