Delta Air Lines Asks USDOT For Additional MIA-HAV Route For December 2017

21 April 2017

"Delta plans to expand its service between Miami and Havana, Cuba, offering an additional daily nonstop flight between the cities. Pending regulatory approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation [USDOT], Delta would begin operating this additional frequency by Dec. 15, 2017

“Delta has established a strong framework for sustainable success in the Cuban market,” said Jose “Pepe” Zapata, Delta’s General Manager-Central America and the Caribbean. “The proposed flight would provide additional service and competition for South Florida, which has the largest Cuban-American population in the United States.”

Delta returned to Cuba on Dec. 1, 2016, after a 55-year hiatus with the launch of a nonstop daily flight to Havana from New York’s JFK International Airport, Miami International Airport and the airline’s hometown airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International.

Pending governmental approvals, the additional MIA-HAV flight will be available for booking through www.delta.com." 

LINK TO USDOT APPLICATION IN PDF FORMAT

Senator Rubio On "Meet The Press" Shares About Conversation With NSC Staff- Was Cuba On The Agenda?

During an interview on NBC's "Meet The Press" on 23 April 2017, The Honorable Marco Rubio (R- Florida), a member of the United States Senate, shared:

"The National Security Council is going back to its appropriate role, which is like an internal think tank that designs big strategic objectives."

"Just Friday alone I had a conversation with folks at the National Security Council about the Western Hemisphere and their strategy towards it."

There is increasing evidence that Senator Rubio is the most influential Member of the United States Congress with respect to Republic of Cuba-related issues and that while he may not obtain all of the policy changes and regulatory changes for which he advocates, he will probably be the last name on the telephone call list of The Honorable Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, prior to the announcement by the Trump Administration of final decisions relating to the Republic of Cuba.

Links To Posts Relating To Senator Rubio, The Trump Administration and the Republic of Cuba:

http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/2/27/president-trump-mentions-cuba-at-press-conference?rq=Marco%20Rubio

http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/4/1/senator-marco-rubio-r-of-florida-discusses-his-three-discussions-about-cuba-with-president-trump?rq=Marco%20Rubio

http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/3/12/6rhpts5hb63h4xirou3am6ycrexpbk?rq=Marco%20Rubio

What Does JetBlue Know... Or Doesn't Know? Seeking Additional Routes To Cuba

United States Department of Transportation
Washington, DC
20 April 2017

APPLICATION OF JETBLUE AIRWAYS CORPORATION FOR AN EXEMPTION AND ALLOCATION OF FREQUENCIES (DOT-OST-2016-0021)

"In light of Spirit and Frontier terminating service to Havana,  Cuba,  onMay31, 2017, and June 4, 2017, respectively, JetBlue hereby applies for seven weekly frequencies in order to provide additional non-stop service between Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Havana, Cuba, and to inaugurate the first ever non-stop service between Boston, Massachusetts and Havana, Cuba.

JetBlue proposes to begin the additional services on November 1, 2017, in order to capitalize on the success of JetBlue’s initial entry into Cuba, which has provided customers in both countries with access to JetBlue’s low airfares and award-winning service.

JetBlue currently provides daily non-stop service from New York to Havana, daily non-stop service from Orlando to Havana, and 13 times weekly service from Fort Lauderdale to Havana. 

JetBlue wishes to provide additional service from Fort Lauderdale to Havana and requests six weekly frequencies in order to increase its service levels on that route. JetBlue also proposes to begin the first-ever non-stop service between Boston and Havana with Saturday service and requests one weekly frequency in order to inaugurate this service.  JetBlue will use 162-seat Airbus A320 aircraft from its existing fleet with the following schedule:

As such, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 40109 and Subpart C of the Department’s Rules of Practice, JetBlue requests an exemption from 49 U.S.C. § 41101 authorizing it to engage in scheduled foreign air transportation service of persons, property and mail between Boston, Massachusetts and Havana, Cuba, and an allocation of seven weekly frequencies to serve Boston and Fort Lauderdale.  JetBlue requests that its exemption authority be granted for a period of at least two (2) years and that the seven weekly frequencies be granted for an indefinite basis."

LINK TO FILING IN PDF FORMAT

LINK TO WWW.REGULATIONS.GOV FOR CUBA PLEADINGS

Analysis

Three (3) United States airlines will cease their United States-Republic of Cuba routes; and they each report the same reasons: fewer passengers than expected, higher operating costs than expected, and unsustainable downward pricing competition.

Miramar, Florida-based Spirit Airlines, Inc. (2016 revenues exceeding US$2.3 billion) will be ending its United States-Republic of Cuba operations effective 1 June 2017.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Silver Airways (2016 revenues exceeding US$100 million) will be ending its United States-Republic of Cuba operations effective 22 April 2017.

Denver, Colorado-based Frontier Airlines (2016 revenues exceeding US$1.6 billion) will be ending its United States-Republic of Cuba operations effective 4 June 2017.

Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines (2016 revenues exceeding US$40 billion) has reduced flight frequencies and size of aircraft on routes.

Long Island City, New York-based JetBlue Airways (2016 revenues exceeding US$6 billion) has reduced size of aircraft on routes.

However, the three largest United States cruise lines have substantially increased the number of itineraries that include the Republic of Cuba scheduled for 2017 and 2018- at capacity transporting more than 185,000 passengers on more than 100 sailings.

Now, JetBlue Airways seeks additional routes.... Do they know something about what the Trump Administration is planning with respect to how its forthcoming policy review may be implemented?

The cruise lines did not require additional authorizations from the United States Department of State, United States Department of the Treasury or United States Department of Commerce to change their schedules.

The airlines require additional authorization(s) from the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) to service new routes. 

Insightful will be the public comments, including from its competitors, Members of the United States Congress, and Governors relating to the filing by JetBlue Airways... and how the DOT responds. 

LINK TO WWW.REGULATIONS.GOV FOR CUBA PLEADINGS

 

Governor Of Mississippi Visiting Cuba; Secrecy Similar To Visiting A....

The Honorable Drew Phillip “Phil” Bryant (R), Governor of the State of Mississippi, is visiting the Republic from 19 April to 21 April 2017.  He is the twentieth (20) governor to visit the Republic of Cuba since 1999.  

There was no information about the visit on the Internet site for the governor or the social media platforms used by the governor as of the morning of 20 April 2017.  Update: No information published through morning of 22 April 2017.

However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba (MINREX) began posting (including images) about the visit to its social media platforms on 19 April 2017.   

The governor is the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of the State of Mississippi.... Why the secrecy?  Commercial opportunities relating to the Republic of Cuba should neither be oversold nor undersold, but they do require selling.  What is not yet known:

Names of companies in the delegation
Names and affiliations of the delegation
Source of funding for the delegation
Cost of the delegation

Governor Bryant now has the distinction of having the second-least transparent planning process of the twenty governors who have visited the Republic of Cuba since 1999.  The visit by West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin in 2016 was the least transparent; although not too far from that of Governor Bryant.

A troubling pattern has emerged whereby Members of Congress and governors have increased the lack of transparency in advance of any visit to the Republic of Cuba and sometimes after a visit to the Republic of Cuba.  

This belies a level of toxicity relating to the Republic of Cuba.  In part, the issues are political- awaiting the decision(s) by the Trump Administration relating to the Republic of Cuba.  In part, the issues are commercial- the government of the Republic of Cuba has yet to permit many of the Obama Administration initiatives relating to opportunities for United States companies.

Years ago, most governors and members of Congress planning to visit the Republic of Cuba sought as much publicity as possible, now they seem to coordinate itineraries as if they were visiting a brothel.

A delegation from the State of Mississippi did visit the Republic of Cuba in February 2017.  That delegation was led by Ms. Rosario "Rose" Boxx, International Trade Director for the Mississippi Development Authority.  

The Honorable William Thad Cochran (R), United States Senator from the State of Mississippi, visited the Republic of Cuba from 19 February 2017 to 22 February 2017 with a group of four (4) members of the United States Senate and one member of the United States House of Representatives; the itinerary included other countries.    LINK TO: http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/2/10/congressional-delegation-to-visit-cuba-4-senators-1-representative

For the period 2010 through 2016, the Port at Pascagoula, Mississippi, ranked 9th of 35 United States ports that have exported food products, agricultural commodities, healthcare products and other authorized products from the United States to the Republic of Cuba.  The Port at Pascagoula reported 160,579 metric tons of product for the period 2010 through 2016; no product was reported for 2015 and 2016.

The State of Mississippi is a source of frozen poultry products exported to the Republic of Cuba.

LINK TO: What Governors Should Consider For A Visit To The Republic Of Cuba

George Ryan (R- Illinois)-  1999/2002
Jesse Ventura (I- Minnesota)- 2002
John Hoeven (R- Nebraska)- 2002
David Heineman (R- Nebraska)- 2005/2006/2007
Kathleen Blanco (D- Louisiana)- 2005
John Balducci (D- Maine)- 2005
Butch Otter (R- Idaho)- 2007
Mike Beebe (D- Arkansas)- 2009
Bill Richardson (D- New Mexico)- 2009/2010
Sonny Perdue (R- Georgia)- 2010
Jay Nixon (D- Missouri) replaced by wife, Georganne Nixon- 2015
Andrew Cuomo (D- New York)- 2015
Asa Hutchinson (R- Arkansas)- 2015
Greg Abbott (R- Texas)- 2015
Terry McAuliffe (D- Virginia)- 2016
Jay Nixon (D- Missouri)- 2016
Lt. Governor Brad Owen (D-Washington)- 2016
John Bel Edwards (D- Louisiana)- 2016
Earl Ray Tomblin (D- West Virginia)- 2016
John Hickenlooper (D- Colorado)- 2017
Phil Bryant (D- Mississippi)- 2017

2 Years Later: What Did NYS Companies Get From Governor Cuomo's 27-Hour Visit To Havana?

Two Years Later…. What Did New York State Companies Get For Governor Cuomo’s Estimated US$150,000.00+ 27-Hour Visit To Cuba?

Was a US$10,000.000 “Advance” Trip Necessary If A Consultant Was Paid US$25,000.00?

What’s Happened- Where’s The Yogurt And Milk And Healthcare Products?

Why No Representatives From PANYNJ, NYSDAM?

Where's The "Agricultural Exchange"?

Governor Staff To Company Ratio Was More Than 2:1

Why Has He Ignored Financial Institutions?

Two years (730 days) ago, The Honorable Andrew Cuomo (D), Governor of the State of New York, embarked on a twenty-seven (27) hour quixotic journey to the Republic of Cuba with a foundation anchored far more upon his focus to be the “first” governor to visit the archipelago since the 17 December 2014 statements by President Barack Obama and President Raul Castro than by his role as the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of the State of New York.  

To date, there have been no published reports of exports of products to the Republic of Cuba from the seven (7) companies participating in the 20 April 2015 to 21 April 2015 visit.

The Governor and his staff have embraced the “planting seeds” analogy… There are few seeds that do not create something within two years.

The planning process and follow-up to the April 2015 visit was the third-least transparent of the twenty (20) governors who have visited the Republic of Cuba since 1999.  The visits by West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant were the least transparent.

COMPLETE REPORT IN PDF FORMAT

American Airlines & United Airlines Are Correcting Their Internet Sites About Using Credit Cards In Cuba

Texas-based American Airlines and Illinois-based United Airlines have inaccurate language on their respective Internet sites relating to use in the Republic of Cuba of credit cards and debit cards issued by United States-based financial institutions.  Both airlines have been notified and are addressing the issue.

American Airlines

“Cash- no credit cards or debit cards can be used in Cuba."

United Airlines

"Please note that U.S. credit and debit cards currently do not work in Cuba."

Washington-based Alaska Airlines

“Most US credit and debit cards do not work in Cuba yet.”

Texas-based Southwest Airlines

"With very few exceptions, U.S. Credit and Debit cards do not currently work in Cuba, so remember to bring enough cash with you to last your entire trip. U.S. dollars can be exchanged into Cuban convertible currency at the airport, hotels, or exchange houses."

Georgia-based Delta Air Lines

Link to the Internet page of the United States Embassy in Havana, Republic of Cuba, which has this statement: "With very few exceptions, U.S. credit and debit cards do not currently work in Cuba. Please bring enough cash to last your entire trip. U.S. Dollars can be exchanged into Cuban convertible currency (CUC) at most airports, hotels, and exchange houses."

https://cu.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/local-resources-of-u-s-citizens/traveling-to-cuba/

New York-based JetBlue Airways

Link to the Internet page of the United States Embassy in Havana, Republic of Cuba, which has this statement: "With very few exceptions, U.S. credit and debit cards do not currently work in Cuba. Please bring enough cash to last your entire trip. U.S. Dollars can be exchanged into Cuban convertible currency (CUC) at most airports, hotels, and exchange houses."

https://cu.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/local-resources-of-u-s-citizens/traveling-to-cuba/

Background

On 1 March 2015, Purchase, New York-based Mastercard Worldwide removed its restriction (block) on the use of its branded products in the Republic of Cuba.

Currently, Pompano Beach, Florida-based Stonegate Bank and San Juan, Puerto Rico-based Banco Popular of Puerto Rico, and Florida-based Natbank have authorization from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury and from the Central Bank of the Republic of Cuba to have their Mastercard-branded credit cards and debit cards valid for use in the Republic of Cuba.

In addition, Visa credit cards and Mastercard credit cards issued by non-United States-based financial institutions are valid for use in the Republic of Cuba; and there are individuals subject to United States jurisdiction who possess such cards and are authorized to use them while within the Republic of Cuba.

In 2016, there was an issue with information on the Internet site of Stamford, Connecticut-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (a subsidiary of Bethesda, Maryland-based Marriott International) relating to its Sheraton Four Points Havana property which opened in June 2016.  The company was incorrect in stating on its Internet site that credit cards issued in the United States were not permitted to be used at the property.

The U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council worked with the company to resolve this issue, but it unnecessarily required one-hundred (100) days to resolve.  The following are blog post links about the issue and the process of resolution:

http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2016/10/20/after-116-days-starwood-finally-changes-its-mastercard-acceptance-policy-for-cuba?rq=credit%20cards

http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2016/10/28/sjnn09px8h13nagf1hrzkflnqlw5dt?rq=credit%20cards

http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2016/10/18/natbank-of-florida-confirms-its-mastercard-is-valid-for-use-in-cuba?rq=credit%20cards

US Food/Ag Exports To Cuba Increased (Slightly) In February 2017; Data Issues

ECONOMIC EYE ON CUBA©
April 2017

February 2017 Exports To Cuba Increases .26% Or 2%- 1
Healthcare Product Exports- 2
Humanitarian Donations- 3
Obama Administration Initiatives Product Exports- 3
U.S. Port Export Data- 14

FEBRUARY FOOD/AG EXPORTS INCREASE .26% OR 2%- Exports of food products & agricultural commodities from the United States to the Republic of Cuba in February 2017 were US$18,145,564.00 (or US$17,893,564.00) compared to US$17,847,747.00 in February 2016 and US$13,488,136.00 in February 2015.  

The difference of US$252,000.00 references 157.8 metric tons of rice reported as exported to the Republic of Cuba by the United States Department of Commerce but not reported as exported to the Republic of Cuba in port (Houston, Texas, District) export data.  LINK to Blog Post:   http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/4/4/rice-is-exported-to-cuba-first-in-10-years-and-no-one-said-anything

[Report will be adjusted as new information is available].  

February 2017 exporters included: Wayzata, Minnesota-based Cargill (corn); Atlanta, Georgia-based AJC International (poultry); Atlanta, Georgia-based Intervision Foods (poultry); Bedford, Massachusetts-based Sellari Enterprises (poultry); Chattanooga, Tennessee-based Koch Foods of Chattanooga (poultry); New York, New York-based Globex International (poultry); Wellesley, Massachusetts-based Grove Services (poultry); Salisbury, Maryland-based Perdue Agribusiness (poultry); and Miami, Florida-based Sevino del Bene SpA (unreported; Link to Blog Post: http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/1/18/italys-savino-del-bene-receives-license-from-bis-to-provision-passenger-vessels-in-cuba?rq=savino).

REPORT IN PDF FORMAT

Spirit Airlines Is Third US Carrier To Cease US-Cuba Operations

Three (3) United States airlines will cease their United States-Republic of Cuba routes; and they each report the same reasons: fewer passengers than expected, higher operating costs than expected, and unsustainable downward pricing competition.

Miramar, Florida-based Spirit Airlines, Inc. (2016 revenues exceeding US$2.3 billion) will be ending its United States-Republic of Cuba operations effective 1 June 2017.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Silver Airways (No Revenue Reported) will be ending its United States-Republic of Cuba operations effective 22April 2017.

Denver, Colorado-based Frontier Airlines (2016 revenues exceeding US$1.6 billion) will be ending its United States-Republic of Cuba operations effective 4 June 2017.

Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines has reduced flight frequencies and size of aircraft on routes.

Long Island City, New York-based JetBlue Airways has reduced size of aircraft on routes.

Daring Or Enticing The Trump Administration About Cuba- Cruise Lines Take The Lead

Three Largest US Cruise Lines Could Deliver 185,000+ Passengers During 100+ Sailings To Cuba In 2017/2018; More Than US$210 Million In Gross Revenues; US$31+ Million In Cuba Including Port Fees Of US$6+ Million.

US Airlines Gross Revenues From Transporting Passengers To/From Florida In Conjunction With The Cruises Could Exceed US$70 Million; Potential US$3.6 Million To Hotels & Restaurants.

Do The CEO’s Know What Others Don't Know?  Or, Walking A Proverbial Plank?

US$974 Billion & 2,000,000.

There will be something.  There will not be nothing.  

Test-fired.

Perhaps, strength in numbers.

LINK TO 2,680-WORD ANALYSIS IN PDF FORMAT

CEO's Of Companies With US$974 Billion In Revenues Believe Cuba Is Worth The Effort

The forty-seven-plus (47+) United States companies who have a commercial presence in the Republic of Cuba have combined global gross revenues of approximately US$974 billion and employ a combined approximately 2,000,000 men and women throughout the fifty (50) states and other countries.

LINK TO LIST

2,000,000 Employees Of U.S. Companies Have A Connection To Cuba

The forty-seven-plus (47+) United States companies who have a commercial presence in the Republic of Cuba have combined global gross revenues of approximately US$974 billion and employ a combined approximately 2,000,000 men and women throughout the fifty (50) states and other countries.

LINK TO LIST

Restriction On Sale Of Premium Gasoline May Benefit Electric Vehicles & Solar Panels; Embassies Concerned

The government of the Republic of Cuba plans to restrict the sale of premium gasoline at Republic of Cuba government-operated gasoline stations (CUPET-CIMEX) to vehicles rented by non-Republic of Cuba nationals who are visiting the country as tourists- with some reports suggesting that the restriction will become permanent once the supply of premium gasoline is exhausted.

The reasons are a reduction of fuel/gasoline imports from Venezuela and an increasing lack of foreign exchange with which to import premium gasoline from other sources.

Vehicles in the Republic of Cuba are primarily using 91-octane gasoline (1.20 CUC per liter) and diesel fuel; while newer more fuel-efficient, technologically-advanced, and less-polluting model vehicles, primarily those used in the tourism industry, by Republic of Cuba government-operated companies, by non-Republic of Cuba government-operated companies, non-governmental organizations (NGO's), and embassies, operate (sometimes manufacturers require/recommend) more efficiently when using 95-octane gasoline (1.40 CUC per liter).  One liter equals .264172 gallons.

Some embassies in the Republic of Cuba are contemplating reductions in personnel, both official and Republic of Cuba nationals, as the restriction upon the availability of gasoline may be a precursor to expanded, and more sustained, negatively impactful economic and commercial decisions by the government of the Republic of Cuba.  

At least one embassy is contemplating seeking authorization from the government of the Republic of Cuba to directly import premium gasoline; perhaps creating a consortium of embassies and designating one CUPET-CIMEX gasoline station solely for use by embassies.  

The installation and use of solar panels to generate electricity and lessen the impact upon and dependence to the Republic of Cuba government-operated electrical grid has increased; the embassy of Canada has installed solar panels.

On 9 February 2017, Miami, Florida-based Premier Automotive Export (PAE), Ltd., a subsidiary of Grand Cayman-based Cayman Automotive (www.caymanautomotive.com), delivered directly from the United States to the Republic of Cuba the first United States-assembled Nissan Leaf for use by the Embassy of Guyana under a 9 January 2017 license from the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the States Department of Commerce authorizing the export of electric vehicles and vehicle chargers from the United States to the Republic of Cuba.  One (1) vehicle charger has been delivered and three (3) are awaiting delivery.

Blog Post Link:

http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/1/25/us-company-receives-bis-license-to-export-electric-vehicles-to-cuba-charging-stations-from-new-jersey-based-company?rq=nissan%20leaf

Port Of Mariel Operating At 39.5% Of Current Capacity; 90% Of Container Capacity Departs Empty

The Republic of Cuba has 3,570 miles of coastline.  There are 70 ports, 31 of which have cargo operations.  The ports are generally deep, protected harbors with narrow entrances and generous anchorage.  

The port system can accommodate 150,000-ton oil tankers, accept modern roll-on, roll-off vessels, discharge all types of grain and fertilizers in bulk, handle 40-foot containers in gantry cranes… and dock up to six submarines.

The Port of Havana has three primary harbors; but closed its container terminal and transferred operations to the port of Mariel in 2014.  It remains active in general cargo, dry bulks and liquid bulks, and has increasing cruise ship activity.  It’s heavily polluted; with water entering remaining for eight days.  It has a water depth of 12.8 meters (42 feet) due to a tunnel under the entrance to the port dredging deeper is an unlikely option.   

Since 2013, an increasing number of vessels from the United States and other countries have been calling at the port of Mariel, located approximately forty (road) miles from Havana.  The port of Mariel is managed by Singapore-based PSA International.

The container terminal at the port of Mariel sits within the 180-square-mile Special Development Zone of Mariel (ZEDM).  The facility 2,300 feet of jetty and four quay cranes which can accommodate 13,000 TEU Neo-Panamax vessels.  

Brazil-based Odebrecht was the primary contractor for the port of Mariel and ZEDM.  Approximately US$683 million in primary financing was provided by the National Bank of Economic and Social Development (BNDES) of Brazil.  Institutions in China and Venezuela also provided financing.  

Two new rail-mounted gantry cranes from Shanghai, China, arrived in September 2016.  Currently, the port of Mariel has an average of one train per day.  

The current maximum vessel draft at the port of Mariel is 12.1 meters (39.69 feet).  This depth can accommodate neo-Panamax vessels: Dredging continues in the access channel to deepen it and to widen it to accommodate neo-Panamax vessels; expected to be completed in 2017 for vessels 366 meters long, 50 meters wide and with a draft of 15.5 meters.

Dredging thus far permits vessels of up to 295 meters (967 feet) overall length with a 32.3-meter (105 foot) beam.  Water depth is approximately 15 meters (49.2 feet).

In 2014, its first year of operation, the port of Mariel handled 160,000 twenty-foot equivalent TEU’s; and 330,713 TEU’s in 2015 and 325,319 TEU’s in 2016.  

Total current annual capacity of Mariel is approximately 824,000 TEU’s with future expansion to 3 million TEU’s.  Approximately 90% of container capacity departing the Republic of Cuba is empty.

Infrastructure at Mariel remains a challenge.  Lack of warehousing.  Operational issues- warehouses are open less than sixteen hours per day- they need to be open twenty-four hours a day.  

In 2019, the plan is to add 300 meters (984 feet) of quay (KEY) at the port of Mariel.  Long-term development includes an additional 1,400 meters (4,593 feet) of quay- for a total of 1.5 miles of quay and a total annual potential of 3 million TEU’s.

The government of the Republic of Cuba views the port of Mariel as a future “hub & spoke” for Caribbean Sea-area countries.  

A purpose of the ZEDM is to substitute imports with locally-manufactured products and then export any surplus to regional markets, including to the United States.  The government of Cuba has approved companies from countries including Mexico, Belgium, Spain, and the United Kingdom for operations within the ZEDM focusing upon logistics, food, chemicals, industrial products, and personal care products.  Another goal of the ZEDM and for the Republic of Cuba is to develop a low-cost workforce to add value to products transiting the Panama Canal.   

The 510 Republic of Cuba nationals who are employed within the ZEDM earn on average US$500.00 per month- compared to the US$25.00-US$50.00 per month average for most Republic of Cuba nationals working for the government of the Republic of Cuba and at Republic of Cuba government-operated companies. 

From Politico: USDA Secretary Nominee Confirmation Delayed Due To Cuba

Politico
Cuba the latest holdup for Sonny
By Jason Huffman
04/05/17 10:00 AM EDT
With help from Catherine Boudreau, Sarah Karlin-Smith and Jenny Hopkinson

CUBA THE LATEST HOLDUP FOR SONNY: First it was paperwork from the White House, then it was Cuba. Turns out some of the delay on Sonny Perdue’s confirmation as Agriculture secretary may have been due to his stance on U.S. trade with the island nation, POLITICO has learned. Until Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Robert Menendez had placed a hold on bringing a vote on Perdue to the Senate floor over concerns about the nominee’s views on Cuba. But the former Georgia governor gave Menendez a buzz on Tuesday, and the New Jersey Democrat agreed to stop slowing the vote, according to spokespeople for both Perdue and Menendez.

Perdue also had to allay the concerns of Sen. Marco Rubio. The Florida Republican and Menendez are hardliners when it comes to ending the more than 50-year embargo on Cuba, arguing it would prop up the communist Castro regime that oppresses its citizens.

The senators’ objections are believed to have stemmed, in part, from comments Perdue made during his confirmation hearing in support of removing restrictions on financing U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba. A number of farm-state lawmakers endorse legislation that would allow Cuba to buy U.S. farm goods using credit — instead of cash up front as is currently required — as a step toward lifting the embargo. Whether Perdue has since changed that stance hasn’t been made clear.

With no other apparent obstacles, Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts said he wants to ask for unanimous consent to move the vote sometime this week. If that doesn’t happen (which may be the case given Senate Democrats’ efforts to block the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court), it could be May before an Agriculture secretary is in place. The Senate recesses on Friday for two weeks.

Politico
By Megan Cassella
04/05/17 10:00 AM EDT
With help from Doug Palmer and Adam Behsudi

PERDUE VOTE HELD UP OVER CUBA TRADE CONCERNS: Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), an outspoken hardliner on Cuba, has been holding up the final Senate vote on Agriculture secretary nominee Sonny Perdue over concerns regarding the former Georgia governor’s stance toward trade with Cuba, Pro Agriculture’s Catherine Boudreau reports. Menendez’s concern stemmed in part from Perdue’s statement during his confirmation hearing that he supports lifting restrictions on financing for U.S. exports to Cuba to allow for increased trade between the two nations.

Perdue called the New Jersey Democrat on Tuesday to discuss the concern, and Menendez is expected to lift the hold, Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts and a spokesperson for Perdue told Boudreau.

"If there aren't any more objections, it is conceivable that we can ask for unanimous consent to move the vote," Roberts said Tuesday. "That's what I'd like to do." Roberts added that unless a final vote is held by Friday, Perdue's nomination will be delayed at least a few more weeks because of the two-week recess, which starts at the end of this week.

Interesting Nordstrom is not focusing upon fashions inspired since 1 January 1959....

Nordstrom's Spring Assortment Perfectly Captures the Essence of '40s Cuba

https://www.popsugar.com/fashion/Cuba-Inspired-Fashion-Spring-43206625

April 3, 2017 by Rebecca Brown paid for by Nordstrom

We've partnered with Nordstrom to show you that there's only one place to look to the biggest fashion influences.

After becoming one of the most buzzed about travel destinations in 2016 among the creative set, Havana's infectious atmosphere, postcard-worthy beaches, celebrated architecture, and unique assortment of vintage cars have continued to garner attention. Designers looking for a new source of inspiration and jet-setters seeking adventure have been visiting the warm climate to take in the vast culture of a country trapped in time.

Among those in the fashion circuit that have been inspired to explore the island is Nordstrom. The brand offers feminine silhouettes that can transport any wearer to the wonderland of the '40s. Rich in color and patterns, Nordstrom's Spring/Summer '17 assortment perfectly captures the character of Cuba. Off-the-shoulder floral dresses meant for a night of rumba dancing and bright embellishments that mirror the city's surroundings embody the visual appeal of the country's capital. Having echoed the style seamlessly, we've culled together some of our favorite looks.

Beautiful beaches, colorful buildings, and historic colonial architecture are part of the worn-in underpinnings that have piqued the interest of many travelers. Homes with bright yellow walls and contrasting shutters play backdrop to tourist photos, while classic cars punctuate the storied streets. It's no wonder Havana made its way onto the must-visit list for 2017.

THE CITY THAT INSPIRES

THE FASHION SPIN
From ruffled, neutral-toned bodysuits that work well under jeans to off-the-shoulder, floral, body-con dresses dripping in old-school glamour, Nordstrom's assortment is rife with Cuban flavor.

THE ACCENTS (ACCESSORIES)
Start with any piece from its vibrant collection and build from there. Whether you finish with embroidered sandals bursting with color or lush, red strappy heels ideal for a night out, its accessories will add all the flavor your Havana night needs.

THE TEXTILES AND DETAILS
Woven textiles exploding in color, big, bright jewelry, and embellished footwear punctuate the pieces. Choose from bold sandals, bags, and accessories.

THE BEAUTY EDIT
Inspired by the luminescent lips and extradewy cheeks? You can get the beauty look. To start with a natural base, prime with Charlotte Tilbury Wonder Glow, then finish with Dior Addict Lip Maximizer in Apricot on the lips. Groomed brows will take you far. Be sure to play with Anastasia Brow Duo.

(This Post Under Review) Rice Is Exported To Cuba; First Since 2008... And No One Said Anything?

In February 2017, data published by the United States Census Bureau of the United States Department of Commerce included from the Houston/Galveston, Texas, District (Port) a shipment of rice valued at US$252,000.00 to the Republic of Cuba. 

24 April 2017 Update: Data from Newark, New Jersey-based PIERS (Port Import/Export Reporting Service) does not indicate rice was exported from the Houston/Galveston, Texas District (Port) to the Republic of Cuba.  PIERS has reviewed several months of data and shows no rice shipments from the United States to the Republic of Cuba in 2017.  Thus, data published by the United States Census Bureau remains in conflict with PIERS data and remains under review. 

This would be the first export of rice from the United States to the Republic of Cuba since 2008. 

The shipment of 157.8 metric tons contained US$126,000.00 of semi/wholly milled, parboiled, inc mixs and US$126,000.00 of semi/wholly milled, mixtures of grains.

From 2002 through 2008, rice exports from the United States to the Republic of Cuba were US$190,737,079.00.  The primary rice-growing states are Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina and Texas.

"On 4 April 2017, Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-1), Chairman of the House of Representatives Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, held a hearing to further examine the effectiveness of farm policy in advance of crafting the next farm bill. Members of the committee heard from witnesses who shared the perspectives of the cotton, rice, peanut, canola, and sugar industries on the importance of both commodity policy and crop insurance. This hearing continues the committee’s hearing series to set the stage for the next farm bill."

Testimony of Blake Gerard
Before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture
Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management
Hearing: “The Next Farm Bill: Commodity Policy Part II”
Washington, D.C.
April 4, 2017

Excerpts:

"My name is Blake Gerard. I serve as the Chairman of the USA Rice Farmers Board of Directors, Chairman of the USA Rice Government Affairs Committee, and as an active member of other state and national industry-related boards and committees.

Trade and Export Factors Influencing U.S. Markets

The industry heavily relies on exports. Approximately 50 percent of our annual crop is exported to more than 120 countries around the globe, accounting for 10 percent of global rice trade.

These exports are critical to rice farmers, millers, and merchants. The volatility of the global rice export market makes it difficult to project sales beyond several months and the levels of U.S. rice exports have been inconsistent over the last decade, adding to the uncertainty in our markets. We are also seeing a consistent increase of imported foreign rice, growing from 5 percent to nearly 20 percent over the last two decades, putting domestic growers at even more of a disadvantage.

Examples of Export Challenges

The U.S. rice industry continues to face a number of challenges in exporting our safe, nutritious, and cost-effective crop. Several examples include:

No access to the Cuban market.

With the appropriate statutory changes, the U.S. could regain 30 percent of the Cuban rice business within two years. That is an estimated 135,000 metric tons of new demand. We anticipate the U.S. share of the market would exceed 50 percent within five years, and it could reach 75 percent or more within ten years with full commercial relations. That is equal to somewhere between $40 and $60 million worth of new demand from Cuba within those first two years of lifted sanctions. We are thankful for the efforts of Chairman Crawford along with a number of other Members of the House Committee on Agriculture that sponsored a bill to remove private financing barriers for agricultural commodities with Cuba."


Background- U.S. Food Product/Agricultural Commodity Exports To Cuba

Since December 2001, more than US$5.3 billion in agricultural commodities and food products have been exported directly from the United States to the Republic of Cuba on a cash-in-advance basis as required by the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (TSREEA) of 2000.  

No United States company which has exported product(s) to the Republic of Cuba since 2001 has publicly stated what payment terms it would currently provide if authorized by statute.  

The government of the Republic of Cuba prefers to purchase food products and agricultural commodities from government-operated exporters where either the exporter or the government of the Republic of Cuba accesses government export-payment guarantee programs.

Government of Vietnam-operated Vinafood (1 & 2) have provided payment terms to Republic of Cuba government-operated Alimport of two (2) years to pay for rice (25% to 30% broken).  The Republic of Cuba annually imports approximately 2000,000 metric tons to 400,000 metric tons of rice, primarily from Vietnam and People's Republic of China.  Republic of Cuba annual domestic requirements are approximately 700,000 metric tons.  The Republic of Cuba does grow a small quantity of rice.

United States producers can provide this product; however, payment terms, if statutorily permitted, without the use of United States government guarantee programs, would be cash-on-delivery to 30 days; and for credit-worthy customers, generally not exceed sixty (60) days to ninety (90) days according to United States exporters.  

RELATED BLOG POST LINKS:

http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2016/5/11/want-to-have-a-legislative-victory-then-be-specific-define-payment-terms?rq=payment%20terms

http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/3/19/i7zxic4x9yweb1q0u1fqn6idmstyko

http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/3/8/naqwf4sownekzbxahs76oysizs5p20

http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/3/1/u4m9xhe3bc9iurkasacffinm2pc12m

Trump Administration Continues To Authorize Commercially-Focused, Cuba-Related OFAC Licenses; CIN To Have Office In Havana

Two questions: 1) Why didn't the Obama Administration issue the license after 396 days of consideration and 2) Why did the Trump Administration issue the license after 60 days of consideration?

Sterling, Virginia-based Cuba International Network (CIN) has received a license (CU-2015-324810-1) from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury to contract with Republic of Cuba government-operated Empresa Comercializadora de la Radio y la Television (RTV).

CIN applied for the license on 22 December 2015 and the license was issued on 20 March 2017.

The OFAC license authorizes CIN to engage in all transactions necessary to establish and maintain a physical presence in Cuba for the purpose of producing broadcasting, television, and digital live and scripted video content in Cuba for television and internet content distributors in the United States and third countries and training Cuban nationals, as described in the application. The major transactions authorized by the license include but are not limited to:

  • leasing physical premises and securing related goods and services;
  • marketing related to the physical presence;
  • employment of Cuban nationals in Cuba;
  • employment of individuals who are persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction;
  • the opening and maintenance of accounts, including the deposit of funds in such accounts by wire transfer at a financial institution in Cuba;

CIN also has a license from the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the United States Department of Commerce.
 
Evin D. Planto, CISSP
Chief Operating Officer
Cuba International Network
21335 Signal Hill Plaza
Suite 250
Sterling, VA 20164
evin@cintelevision.com
Office: 305.908.8901 x702
Facsimile: 305.908.8901
Mobile: 571.527.8470

www.cintelevision.com"Innovative Broadcasting Solutions”

 

Senator Marco Rubio (R) Of Florida Discusses His Three Discussions About Cuba With President Trump

Tampa Bay Times
St. Petersburg, Florida
31 March 2017

Marco Rubio: I've Spoken to Trump three times about Cuba

By Patricia Mazzei

Sen. Marco Rubio has kept mostly tight-lipped about what he's discussed with President Donald Trump on the occasions the two Republicans have met -- including over dinner with their wives at the White House.

But Rubio disclosed in a Spanish-language interview this week that he's used those conversations with Trump to bring up Cuba.

"I've spoken to the president of the United States personally on three occasions," Rubio told Mega TV host Oscar Haza after Haza asked about the future of U.S.-Cuba policy. "I think without a doubt there will be changes in U.S.-Cuba policy."

Rubio said he and his staff are dealing "very closely" with the White House on the issue, which he expects Trump to address "strategically."

"If the Cuban government is going to behave like a dictatorship, well, then we're going to deal with them like a dictatorship," Rubio said, without going into specifics. "We're not going to pretend it's changing. There haven't been any changes -- on the contrary, we've seen more repression."

The topic of Cuba came up last week during White House health care discussions with Miami Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.

From 7 States, 25 Members Of House Of Representatives Seek Reversal Of OFAC Decision Relating To Havana Club Trademark

From Representative Ros-Lehtinen:

Ros-Lehtinen, Wasserman Schultz Lead Bipartisan Call For Review of Havana Club Trademark License to Castro Regime-Owned Cubaexport

Mar 29, 2017

Ros-Lehtinen, Wasserman Schultz Lead Bipartisan Call For Review of Havana Club Trademark License to Castro Regime-Owned Cubaexport

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) sent a bipartisan letter to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling for a review and explanation of last year’s decision by the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) to grant a license for the Havana Club trademark to Castro-regime owned Cubaexport. Ros-Lehtinen and Wasserman Shultz were joined by nearly two dozen of their colleagues.

Statement by Ros-Lehtinen: “Last year’s decision by OFAC to grant a license to Cubaexport – a wholly-owned entity of the Cuban regime – for the trademark of Havana Club was an unprecedented decision with alarming implications for American intellectual property rights holders. It was a decision made for political expedience that ignored standing U.S. law and potentially opened a Pandora’s box that could see U.S. intellectual property rights holders subject to unlawful and unjust foreign confiscations. We are asking the new administration to review this license, reverse its decision and protect rightful intellectual property owners before any lasting damage is done.”

Statement by Wasserman Schultz: “As Members of Congress, we have a responsibility to uphold the values enshrined in our Constitution, including the protection against government confiscation of property without just compensation. It is with these values in mind that we strongly urge OFAC to revoke the license it issued to the Cuban government entity Cubaexport. By allowing the Cuban regime to register the Havana Club trademark, OFAC is out of step with longstanding United States policy, and has set a terrible precedent for American intellectual property rights holders.  I urge OFAC to reverse this misguided decision and send a loud and clear message to the international community that the United States has been and always will be a global leader on intellectual property rights.”

NOTE: To view the letter please click here. Other cosigners of the letter are: Ed Royce (R-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Al Lawson (D-FL), Bill Posey (R-FL), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR), Tom Rooney (R-FL), Dennis Ross (R-FL), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

LETTER IN PDF FORMAT

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List Of U.S. Companies That Have Exported Products To Cuba

This is a list of some of the United States-based companies that have exported products from the United States to the Republic of Cuba since December 2001.  Depending upon the company, products have included agricultural commodities, food products and healthcare products.  Some companies have exported once, some more than once.  The list is continually updated.

The list has two parts: 1) By Company and 2) By State Of Headquarters.

Not all product exported by a company is sourced from the state within which the company is located, this is especially true for agricultural commodity and food product companies.

NOTE: If there are companies not included in this list, please contact council@cubatrade.org with the name of the company and the product(s) that was exported.  Not donated product.

LINK TO LISTS IN PDF FORMAT