President Diaz-Canel Could Have A Provacative Schedule If He Attends UN General Assembly

There is consensus among senior-level executives of United States-based companies who conduct transactions with and/or provide services to and within the Republic of Cuba that His Excellency Miguel Diaz-Canel, President of the Republic of Cuba, will attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York City which commences on 18 September 2018 to deliver remarks on behalf of the Republic of Cuba, which joined the United Nations in October 1945 as one of the original fifty-one (51) founding members.  

As this will be the first United Nations General Assembly since his inauguration on 19 April 2018, important that the Republic of Cuba be represented by its new Head of State rather than Minister of Foreign Affairs. 

A visit to New York City will also permit President Diaz-Canel to meet (and be seen and photographed) with heads of state and/or heads of government of countries of commercial, economic and political importance to the Republic of Cuba (and to the United States). 

A focus would include: Members of the European Union (EU)- France (President Emmanuel Macron), Germany (Chancellor Angela Merkel), Spain (Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez) and United Kingdom (Prime Minister Theresa May); and Argentina (President Mauricio Macri), Brazil (President Michel Temer), Canada (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau), China (President Xi Jinping), Colombia (President Ivan Duque), Iran (President Hassan Rouhani), North Korea (Chairman Kim Jong-un), Russia (President Vladimir Putin), Turkey (President Recip Tayyip Erdogan) and Venezuela (President Nicolas Maduro). 

While generally risk-adverse, some senior-level executives believe given statements by The Honorable Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, of his willingness to meet with those with whom he agrees and to meet with those with whom he has disagreements, an opportunity, while uncertain, of a brief discussion between or a handshake by President Diaz-Canel with President Trump should not be dismissed and perhaps be privately requested, perhaps, if required, through a third-party. 

There is no consensus by senior-level executives with respect to their meeting privately or attending a group meeting with President Diaz-Canel at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Cuba to the United Nations located on Lexington Avenue in New York City. 

Senior-level executives of sector/category trade organizations are generally positive, often enthusiastic as to opportunities for dialogue with heads-of-state and heads-of-government 

The often-cited reason for not proactively requesting a meeting or not desirous of receiving an invitation to a meeting is concern of scrutiny from the Trump Administration; this is particularly valid with providers of financial services who are subject to scrutiny from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury. 

There are senior-level executives of United States-based companies who remain welcoming of an opportunity to meet with President Diaz-Canel.  The companies tend to be travel-related: airlines, cruise lines, and hotel management, particularly those with a presence in the State of Florida.   

Those companies engaged in the export of agricultural commodities and food products to the Republic of Cuba are circumspect about meeting at this time with President Diaz-Canel given the sensitivity of a desired Republic of Cuba-related provision in the “Farm Bill” under consideration by the United States Congress with a vote expected by the end of September 2018.

LINK To Analysis

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The White House Continues Authority Of Trading With The Enemy Act Relating To Cuba

MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE
THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY

SUBJECT: Continuation of the Exercise of Certain Authorities under the Trading With the Enemy Act

Under section 101(b) of Public Law 95-223 (91 Stat. 1625; 50 U.S.C. 4305 note), and a previous determination on September 8, 2017 (82 FR 42927, September 13, 2017), the exercise of certain authorities under the Trading With the Enemy Act is scheduled to expire on September 14, 2018.

I hereby determine that the continuation of the exercise of those authorities with respect to Cuba for 1 year is in the national interest of the United States.

Therefore, consistent with the authority vested in me by section 101(b) of Public Law 95-223, I continue for 1 year, until September 14, 2019, the exercise of those authorities with respect to Cuba, as implemented by the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 515.

The Secretary of the Treasury is authorized and directed to publish this determination in the Federal Register.

DONALD J. TRUMP

LINK To Text Of Trading With The Enemy Act

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Monthly Food/Ag Exports Decrease 36.1%; Year Remains Up 2.8%

ECONOMIC EYE ON CUBA©
September 2018

July 2018 Food/Ag Exports To Cuba Decrease 36.1%- 1
2.8% Increase Year-To-Year-5
Cuba Ranks 51st Of 229 U.S. Food/Ag Export Markets- 2
July 2018 Healthcare Product Exports US$77,781- 2
July 2018 Humanitarian Donations US$656,682.00- 3
Obama Administration Initiatives Exports Continue To Increase- 3
U.S. Port Export Data- 15

JULY 2018 FOOD/AG EXPORTS TO CUBA DECREASE 36.1%- Exports of food products & agricultural commodities from the United States to the Republic of Cuba in July 2018 were US$15,643,929.00 compared to US$24,379,155.00 in July 2017 and US$20,227,854.00 in July 2016.

Complete Report Available Soon.

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OFAC Reports On Licenses Sought And Granted During Obama/Trump November-January Transition

27 July 2018

This letter is our final response to your February 18, 2017 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, request to the Department of the Treasury, seeking the following:

1) The total number of Cuba-related licenses issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) from November 8, 2016 to 12:00 PM on January 20, 2017; and

2) The total number of Cuba-related license applications received by OFAC from November 8, 2016 to 12:00PM on January 20, 2017.

Treasury referred your FOIA request to OFAC for processing on February 22, 2017.

OFAC is experiencing a substantial backlog of FOIA requests that has adversely affected its response time.

OFAC has searched its records and found 2,112 responsive to your request. We are releasing those 2,112 records in Excel spreadsheet format with redactions made pursuant to exemptions (b)(4) and (b)(6) of the FOIA.

OFAC used FOIA exemption (b)(4) to withhold financial information the release of which will cause substantial competitive harm to the submitter of the information and impair OFAC’s ability to obtain the information in the future. OFAC used this exemption to withhold information such as transaction information provided to OFAC.

FOIA exemption (b)(6) protects from disclosure personal privacy information, the release of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. OFAC used a balancing test to determine that the individuals’ right to personal privacy outweighed the public’s right to release of the information. In this case, OFAC withheld information such as names of individuals and their addresses.

LINK 1

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Trump Administration Appoints New Senior Director For Western Hemisphere Affairs At National Security Council

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article217597830.html

The Miami Herald
Miami, Florida
30 August 2018

Cuba hardliner to be elevated to key White House post on Latin America

By Franco Ordoñez
WASHINGTON

The Trump administration is expected to name Mauricio Claver-Carone, one of the most outspoken opponents of the Obama administration’s rapprochement with Cuba, as the new senior director of the National Security Council’s Western Hemisphere Affairs, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the decision. 

Claver-Carone will take over the influential White House department for Juan Cruz, who led the department since the early months of the Trump administration and was a key architect of Trump’s policies to pressure the Venezuelan government. 

The Miami native, raised in Spain and Orlando, will take over the coordination of Latin American policies among the White House, State Department, Treasury and other agencies.

He is expected to turn up the pressure even more on Venezuela as well as Cuba and Nicaragua, which have become a primary focus of the Trump administration policies on fighting for democracy in the region. He is part of a group of new hires at the National Security Council after John Bolton took over the department.

“If anyone can jump-start a more rigorous, purposeful policy, it’s Mauricio,” said Ambassador Roger Noriega, who served as assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs under George W. Bush. “He has the political smarts. He has his own political credibility. He has the confidence of the administration. He has his head screwed on right as to the root of important problems in this hemisphere.”

Noriega said Claver-Carone also has the experience working in the Trump bureaucracy since the beginning of the administration and understands how to get policies to move.

The former Treasury department official and current U.S. executive director at the International Monetary Fund is also expected to bring over aspects of his policy work at Treasury, where he pushed economic partnerships with regional allies, energy infrastructure assistance and U.S. investment in the region.

The posting is likely to win praise from hardline Cuban-Americans and Venezuelan-Americans who Claver-Carone have followed his rise from the George W. Bush administration where he first worked in Treasury to advocate for Cuban democracy and then back to government as a member of Trump’s transition team.

Claver-Carone also has plenty of detractors, particularly in Cuba and the Obama administration, as he was one of the harshest critics of Obama’s efforts to improve U.S. relations with the island nation.

Groups like CubaNow, an organization that pushes for warmer U.S. relations with Havana, have been critical of Claver-Carone’s work for years arguing he defended interests of “politicians who support a failed embargo policy.”

A lawyer, Claver-Carone has taught law at the George Washington and Catholic Universities. He has testified frequently before Congress.

During his time between government stints, he also wrote an influential blog, Capital Hill Cubans, and lead the Washington-based U.S. Cuba Democracy PAC and Cuba Democracy Advocates, a non-profit that promoted democracy and human rights in Cuba.

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If A Wants US$134 Billion-US$933 Billion And B Wants US$1.9 Billion-US$9 Billion, Can There Be A Negotiation?

In June 2018, the government of the Republic of Cuba issued an annual report [LINK] to the New York, New York-based United Nations within which is a presentation relating to the commercial, economic and political impact of United States statutes, regulations and policies towards the Republic of Cuba.

“The accumulated damages due to the blockade for the almost six decades of its application total $ 933,678,000,000 dollars, taking into account the depreciation of the dollar in terms of the price of gold on the international market. At current prices, the blockade has caused damages that can be calculated at over $ 134,499,800,000.”

“In the period being analyzed, the blockade has caused Cuba losses of around $ 4,321,200,000.”

The soil upon which United States policy, regulations and laws sprouted since 1961 was created by the seizure of assets by the government of the Republic of Cuba.

There are 8,821 claims of which 5,913 awards have been certified by the United States Foreign Claims Settlement Commission (USFCSC- https://www.justice.gov/fcsc) at the United States Department of Justice which are valued at US$1,902,202,284.95. 

Of these claims, thirty (30) United States-based companies hold 56.85% of the total value.  The USFCSC permitted interest to be accrued in the amount of 6% per annum; with the current value ranging from US$6 billion to US$9 billion.

Related Blog Posts:

6/14/18

https://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2018/6/14/trump-administration-may-be-focusing-upon-certified-claims-unlike-obama-administration?rq=certified%20claims

1/12/17

https://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/1/12/h2uudthnn6be8hfgxifqsrdo4aqpb0?rq=certified%20claims

5/29/17

https://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/5/29/0t6ts1bv3by20ot3mi9bydvdqv3e86?rq=certified%20claims

12/1/16

https://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2016/12/1/zigs56x0gme3a9rqg7aecx9vf2gqgk?rq=certified%20claims

9/13/16

https://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2016/8/6/obama-administration-wont-seek-dismissal-of-civil-judgements-against-cuba-to-help-certified-claimants?rq=certified%20claims

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Not Much Increases 379.5% Year-To-Year.... But, This Did- And It Meant More Than US$300 Million

anna aero (airline network news and analysis)
Surrey, United Kingdom
29 August 2018

Cuba leads international growth race

A review of the more established international markets reveals that 79 were served with a minimum of 100,000 one-way seats in 2016, with 58 of these enjoying an increase in capacity last year. The strongest growth came on services to Cuba, with seat numbers to the Caribbean island up 380% due to the Obama administration’s decision to allow US airlines to operate scheduled flights between the two countries for the first time in many years, as part of a widely reported restoration of diplomatic relations.

U.S. Top 12 International Growth Markets

Capacity Growth 2017 v 2016

(2017 one-way seats; non-stop flights only)

Cuba (1,542,749)

379.5%

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser

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After Eight Months At Level 3, Cuba Shifts To Level 2; Good News For Travelers

Eight months after the United States Department of State issued a Travel Advisory Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) for the Republic of Cuba, the United States Department of State has changed it to Travel Advisory Level 2 (Exercise Increased Caution).

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Cuba.html

“Exercise increased caution in Cuba due to attacks targeting U.S. Embassy Havana employees resulting in the drawdown of embassy staff.

Numerous U.S. Embassy Havana employees appear to have been targeted in specific attacks. We are unable to identify the source.  Many of these employees have suffered injuries.  Affected individuals have exhibited a range of physical symptoms including ear complaints and hearing loss, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, cognitive issues, visual problems, and difficulty sleeping. 

Attacks have occurred in U.S. diplomatic residences (including a long-term apartment at the Atlantic) and at Hotel Nacional and Hotel Capri in Havana.

The U.S. Embassy in Havana is operating with reduced staffing.  Family members cannot accompany U.S. government employees who work in Cuba.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Cuba:

Avoid Hotel Nacional and Hotel Capri.

If you experience any acute auditory or sensory phenomena, immediately move to another area. 

Know where to seek medical care in Cuba.

Consult with a medical professional prior to traveling if you have personal health concerns or upon return if you believe you have suffered symptoms similar to those listed above.

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.

Review the Crime and Safety Report for Cuba.

U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations.  Review the Traveler’s Checklist.”

Previous Blog Posts:

https://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2018/1/14/cuba-receives-level-3-reconsider-travel-advisory-not-level-4-do-not-travel?rq=Travel%20Warning

https://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/9/29/us-department-of-state-issues-travel-warning-for-cuba-impact-may-be-severe?rq=Travel%20Warning

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Farm Bill: No Fiscal Year 2019 MAP/FMD Applications Submitted To USDA Included Cuba

The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported to the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council (USCTEC) that none of the applications for Fiscal Year 2019 submitted by the 8 June 2018 deadline included funding requests for Market Access Program (MAP) or Foreign Market Development (FMD) to be allocated for use in the Republic of Cuba.

That none of the applications included the Republic of Cuba was not unexpected as the Republic of Cuba is not currently eligible for MAP/FMD funding and applicants may not have known on 8 June 2018 that an amendment would be introduced in the United States Senate on 13 June 2018 to authorize MAP and FMD funds to be available for the Republic of Cuba and whether that amendment would become a statute and when it would become a statute:

https://www.heitkamp.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2018/6/heitkamp-boozman-introduce-2018-farm-bill-amendment-to-boost-u-s-ag-exports-authorize-trade-promotion-funds-to-be-used-in-cuba

For Fiscal Year 2018, there were eighty-one (81) applications for MAP/FMD funding approved by the USDA, which shared that applicants typically seek more funds than have been approved by the United States Congress, so the USDA reallocates funding requests based upon a standardized criterion.  In Fiscal Year 2018, the combined expenditures for MAP/FMD were US$200,287,394.00.      

The United States Senate version of new “Farm Bill” (S. 3042) includes the Republic of Cuba; the United States House of Representatives version of the new Farm Bill (H.R. 2) does not include the Republic of Cuba.  A conference committee has been appointed to determine the final language to be voted upon by 1 October 2018, the beginning of Fiscal Year 2019 for the United States government.

If the Republic of Cuba is included among Fiscal Year 2019 eligible countries for MAP/FMD funding, applications submitted by 8 June 2018 would be authorized by the USDA to be amended.  The FMD Year begins in October 2018 and the MAP Year begins in 2019.

However, absent changes to the existing USDA application process by The Honorable Sonny Perdue, United States Secretary of Agriculture, applications submitted by 8 June 2018 would be permitted only to be amended- not to seek additional USDA funding, but reallocate previously-submitted funding requests from one country to another country, in this instance, the Republic of Cuba.  For a MAP/FMD activity to be approved for the Republic of Cuba, an applicant would have to shift requested or approved funds from another country.

The USDA recognizes there are unplanned events that impact an applicant’s ability to use previously-requested or previously-authorized MAP/FMD funds. 

For example, with the People’s Republic of China and European Union (EU) members implementing tariffs on certain food products and agricultural commodities after 8 June 2018, an applicant might not want or might be precluded from using requested or allocated funds towards activities in the People’s Republic of China and EU; so, the applicant might want to submit a request to the USDA to reallocate all or a portion of funds towards use within another country.

There may also be impacting events that remain unknown through 2018 and become known in 2019, after the USDA has allocated all MAP/FMD funds to applicants, so then an entity having received a MAP/FMD funding allocation could request a reallocation from the USDA.  

The USDA does not provide any payments to selected applicants in advance of the applicant making disbursements; the USDA provides payment upon receipt of an invoice from the applicant.  The invoices are audited by the USDA and a claw back of payments is permitted.  Any Republic of Cuba-related invoice is likely to receive additional scrutiny due to an amendment in S. 3042 submitted by Senator Rubio.

U.S. Congress Status

S. 3042, the United States Senate version of the “Farm Bill” includes two provisions relating to the Republic of Cuba:

An amendment authored by The Honorable Heidi Heitkamp (D- ND): “To provide for the use of market access program and foreign market development cooperator program funds in Cuba.” 

An amendment by The Honorable Marco Rubio (R- FL) to Senator Heitkamp’s amendment: To prohibit the use of funds to carry out programs in Cuba in contravention of the National Security Presidential Memorandum prohibiting transactions with entities owned, controlled, or operated by or on behalf of military intelligence or security services of Cuba.”

H.R. 2, the United States House of Representatives version of the “Farm Bill” does not include either amendment or any Republic of Cuba-related language.

H.R.2/S. 3042, the “Farm Bill,” now is subject to the decision of a conference committee which includes members of the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate.  Given the composition of the conference committee, the Heitkamp/Rubio provision in S. 3042 is likely to be included in the legislation returned to each chamber, voted upon, and then presented in September 2018 to President Donald Trump for his signature.

Previous Blog Posts:

Did USDA MAP/FMD Applicants Predict In June What Is Likely In September?  If Not, Cuba Needs To Help Now

https://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2018/8/5/zan5yu902gxothclktn4aqt93m0v5u

Portion of US$200 Million In DMF & MAP Funds Likely To Be Available For Cuba Soon; Know The Application Process

https://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2018/8/3/2sayhxrojudnr42pra4ffdjdbng8r0

Complete Analysis In PDF Format

June 2018 U.S. Food/Ag Exports To Cuba Decrease 13.8%; For Year Remain 9.9% Above 2017

ECONOMIC EYE ON CUBA©
August 2018

June 2018 Food/Ag Exports To Cuba Decrease 13.8%- 1
9.9% Increase Year-To-Year-5
Cuba Ranks 51st Of 229 U.S. Food/Ag Export Markets- 2
June 2018 Healthcare Product Exports US$326,182.00- 2
June 2018 Humanitarian Donations US$1,548,509.00- 3
Obama Administration Initiatives Exports Continue To Increase- 3
U.S. Port Export Data- 15

JUNE 2018 FOOD/AG EXPORTS TO CUBA DECREASE 13.8%- Exports of food products & agricultural commodities from the United States to the Republic of Cuba in June 2018 were US$21,225,971.00 compared to US$24,630,738.00 in June 2017 and US$11,283,520.00 in June 2016.  

Total reported purchases under provisions of the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (TSREEA) of 2000 are US$5,702,903,175.00.

Link To Complete Report In PDF

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Did USDA MAP/FMD Applicants Predict In June What Is Likely In September? If Not, Cuba Needs To Help Now

If Cuba Wants USDA Funds, It Should Be Proactive… And Hurry.
Applicants & Cuba Need To Focus; Quickly.  
Will USDA Adjust June 2018 Application Deadline?
Were Applicants Predictive And Included Cuba In Their USDA Applications?

The government of the Republic of Cuba may expect United States taxpayer funds to be spent; and place pressure upon applicants to spend funds in the Republic of Cuba as a show of support for exports to the Republic of Cuba and for the government of the Republic of Cuba.  The focus will be upon approximately eighty-one (81) applicants [link].

In 2017, the Republic of Cuba purchased approximately US$269 million in food products and agricultural commodities; ranking 51st of 229 export markets.  Purchases thus far in 2018 are approximately 15% above 2017.  Since December 2001, the Republic of Cuba has purchased approximately US$5.7 billion in food products and agricultural commodities on a cash-in-advance basis as required by United States law.

1 October 2018 begins the 2019 fiscal year for the United States Government.  For the first time, a portion (depending upon application approvals) of approximately US$200 million in funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program disbursed through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be available for use in the Republic of Cuba, an unlikely bipartisan effort of two members of the United States Senate: Heidi Heitkamp (D- ND) and Marco Rubio (R- FL).  In Fiscal Year 2018, the total expenditures for these two programs was US$200,287,394.00.

S. 3042 includes an amendment authored by Senator Heitkamp: “To provide for the use of market access program and foreign market development cooperator program funds in Cuba.” 

Senator Heitkamp’s amendment was subject to an amendment by Senator Rubio: To prohibit the use of funds to carry out programs in Cuba in contravention of the National Security Presidential Memorandum prohibiting transactions with entities owned, controlled, or operated by or on behalf of military intelligence or security services of Cuba.”

H.R.2/S. 3042, the “Farm Bill,” now is subject to the decision of a conference committee which includes members of the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate.  Given the composition of the conference committee, the Heitkamp/Rubio provision in S. 3042 is likely to be included in the legislation returned to each chamber, voted upon, and then presented in September 2018 to President Donald Trump for his signature.

According to an individual familiar with the USDA’s MAP/FMD disbursement process, “typically all funds are allocated during the initial stage of the process.  There are more requests than funds so typically you do not get all you request so there are no additional funds later in the year to be applied.”  There are entities who received funding during the fiscal year 2018 who have already completed their applications.

On 3 August 2018, the USDA wrote to the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council: “Per the 2019 MAP NOFA (Federal Register Notices attached), All applications must be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on Friday, June 8, 2018.  Applications received after this date will not be considered. FAS anticipates that the initial funding selections will be made by the end of October 2018, with the initial award dates estimated to be by the end of December 2018.  Hence, groups are not able to submit additional applications. Groups can request to make changes to their Unified Export Strategy in order to reallocate funding from one approved project to another. These modifications are routine and groups work with their FAS Marketing Specialist to submit changes for approval.”

That statement means unless the USDA permits an additional period for applications (a result of advocacy by members of the United States Congress), only entities who submitted applications as of 8 June 2018 would be authorized to revise their applications and seek to shift funds previously directed from a country or countries to now include the Republic of Cuba.

Unknown is the number of applicants who may have included the Republic of Cuba in their funding requests submitted to the USDA by 8 June 2018.

This means the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba (MINREX), Ministry of Foreign Trade of the Republic of Cuba (MINCEX), Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Cuba, and Republic of Cuba government-operated Alimport (the sole contracting entity for food product and agricultural commodity imports from the United States) need to quickly develop a strategy to assist those seeking funds from the USDA.

Applicants in the United States need to know what types of activities in the Republic of Cuba would be permitted and what types of activities would be prohibited.

Applicants in the United States require the proactive assistance of the target market: Representatives of the government of the Republic of Cuba, representatives of Republic of Cuba government-operated entities, and executives of Republic of Cuba government-operated companies.

There may be legitimate uses for MAP and FMD program in the Republic of Cuba.  There will be heightened scrutiny of each application which includes the use of funds in the Republic of Cuba.

What Are FMD & MAP?

For Fiscal Year 2018, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) allocated US$26,484,947.00 in taxpayer funds to twenty-three (23) cooperators [link] under the Foreign Market Development Program (FMD), an average of US$1,021,084.00 per distribution.

https://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/foreign-market-development-program-fmd/fmd-funding-allocations-fy-2018

FMD: “The Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program, also known as the Cooperator Program, helps create, expand and maintain long-term export markets for U.S. agricultural products. Under the program, FAS partners with U.S. agricultural producers and processors, who are represented by non-profit commodity or trade associations called “cooperators,” to promote U.S. commodities overseas.

The FMD program focuses on generic promotion of U.S. commodities, rather than consumer-oriented promotion of branded products. Preference is given to organizations that represent an entire industry or are nationwide in membership and scope.

FMD-funded projects generally address long-term opportunities to reduce foreign import constraints or expand export growth opportunities. For example, this might include efforts to: reduce infrastructural or historical market impediments, improve processing capabilities, modify codes and standards, or identify new markets or new uses for the agricultural commodity or product.

Each year, FAS announces the FMD application period and criteria in the Federal Register. Organizations apply for the FMD program through the Unified Export Strategy (UES) process, which allows applicants to request funding from multiple USDA market development programs through a single, strategically coordinated proposal. FAS reviews the proposals and awards funds to applicants that demonstrate the potential for effective performance based on a clear, long-term strategic plan.” 

For Fiscal Year 2018, the USDA allocated US$173,802,447.00 in taxpayer funds to sixty-six (66) participants [link] under the Market Access Program (MAP), an average of US$2,633,370.00 per distribution. 

https://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/market-access-program-map/map-funding-allocations-fy-2018

MAP: “Through the Market Access Program (MAP), FAS partners with U.S. agricultural trade associations, cooperatives, state regional trade groups and small businesses to share the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities that help build commercial export markets for U.S. agricultural products and commodities.

MAP reaches virtually every corner of the globe, helping to build markets for a wide variety U.S. farm and food products. FAS provides cost-share assistance to eligible U.S. organizations for activities such as consumer advertising, public relations, point-of-sale demonstrations, participation in trade fairs and exhibits, market research and technical assistance. When MAP funds are used for generic marketing and promotion, participants must contribute a minimum 10-percent match. For promotion of branded products, a dollar-for-dollar match is required.

Each year, FAS announces the MAP application period and criteria in the Federal Register. Applicants apply for MAP through the Unified Export Strategy (UES) process, which allows eligible organizations to request funding from multiple USDA market development programs through a single, strategically coordinated proposal. FAS reviews the proposals and awards funds to applicants that demonstrate the potential for effective performance based on a clear, long-term strategic plan.”

COMPLETE ANALYSIS IN PDF FORMAT

Portion Of US$200 Million In FMD & MAP Funds Likely To Be Available For Cuba Soon; Know The Application Process

USDA (FAS) Information For FMD & MAP

3 August 2018

From the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA):

“Per the 2019 MAP NOFA (Federal Register Notices attached), All applications must be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on Friday, June 8, 2018.  Applications received after this date will not be considered. FAS anticipates that the initial funding selections will be made by the end of October 2018, with the initial award dates estimated to be by the end of December 2018.  

Hence, groups are not able to submit additional applications. Groups can request to make changes to their Unified Export Strategy in order to reallocate funding from one approved project to another. These modifications are routine and groups work with their FAS Marketing Specialist to submit changes for approval.”

Current Country Restrictions For FMD And MAP

https://www.fas.usda.gov/sites/default/files/2018-06/map18002_program_notice_list_of_restricted_countries_homepage_06.06.2018_0.pdf

Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program Information

https://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/foreign-market-development-program-fmd

Electronic Code of Federation Regulations (as of 1 August 2018) For FMD

https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&SID=1323360713d785917988c1ca05a85e2e&rgn=div5&view=text&node=7:10.1.2.3.34&idno=7

2019 NOFA FMD

Market Access Program (MAP) Information

https://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/market-access-program-map

Electronic Code of Federation Regulations (as of 1 August 2018) For MAP

https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/retrieveECFR?gp=1&SID=3891aad92d2a95a8f7f3949e6e99fb33&ty=HTML&h=L&n=7y10.1.2.3.35&r=PART

2019 NOFA MAP

MAP/FMD Program Application Process

https://www.fas.usda.gov/unified-export-strategy

This Document In PDF Format Including List Of 2018 Applicants

 

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Cuba Provision In Farm Bill Likely To Be In Language Sent To President Trump For His Signature

The "Last Cuba-Related Legislation Signed Into Law" Clock May Soon Be Reset To Zero

The United States House of Representatives has appointed forty-seven (47) conferees (29 R/18D) and the United States Senate has appointed nine (9) conferees (5R/4D) for H.R. 2/S.3042 (the "Farm Bill")..

The United States Senate version of the Farm Bill includes a provision [Link To Text] authored by Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D- ND): “To provide for the use of market access program and foreign market development cooperator program funds in Cuba.”  In Fiscal Year 2018, the total expenditures for these two programs was US$200,287,394.00.    

For the United States House of Representatives, there are twenty-nine (29) members of the Republican caucus and eighteen (18) members of the Democrat caucus.  Seven of the Republican conferees are co-sponsors (including Representative Mike Conaway (R-TX), Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture) of previous Republic of Cuba-related legislation introduced by Representative Rick Crawford (R- AR); twenty-two conferees are not co-sponsors of the legislation. 

Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart (R- FL), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R- FL) and Carlos Curbelo (R- FL) are not conferees.  They may believe unnecessary to seek to be conferees as the amendment is structured in a manner which, if the Heitkamp/Rubio amendment becomes law, may result in further restrictive rule-making which could impact overall travel to the Republic of Cuba by individuals subject to United States jurisdiction; which is their overall goal.

Eight (8) of the nine (9) members of the conference committee from the United States Senate support the amendment of Senator Heitkamp.  The position of Senator Mitch McConnell (R- KY) is unknown.

There are fifty-six (56) members of the conference committee; If twenty-nine (29) support S. 3042 as written, then the amendment included by Senator Heitkamp (and the related amendment by Senator Marco Rubio (R- FL)) will be in the legislation submitted to President Donald Trump for his signature to become law.  Link to Senator Rubio’s amendment

There will likely be a bipartisan majority among the United States Senate conferees and United States House of Representatives conferees who support S. 3042 as written and likely oppose any effort to remove the Republic of Cuba-related provisions in S. 3042. 

Link to previous Blog post about amendments: https://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2018/6/29/fherk61dt99b6qfguvbdu503vcy9i5

Republican Senate Conferees

https://www.agriculture.senate.gov/newsroom/majority-news

Mitch McConnell (R- KY)
Pat Roberts (R- KS)
John Boozman (R- AR)
John Hoeven (R- ND)
Jodi Ernest (R- IA)

Democrat Senate Conferees

https://www.agriculture.senate.gov/newsroom/majority-news

Sherrod Brown (D- OH)
Debbie Stabenow (D- MI)
Patrick Leahy (D- VT)
Heidi Heitkamp (D- ND)

Republican House Conferees (as formatted)

https://www.speaker.gov/press-release/speaker-ryan-names-farm-bill-conference-committee-members

House Agriculture Committee

Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX)
2. Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA)
3. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
4. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK)
5. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL)
6. Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA)
7. Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR)
8. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)
9. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL)
10. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL)
11. Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC)
12. Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS)
13. Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX)

House Education and the Workforce Committee
1. Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
2. Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA)

House Energy and Commerce Committee
1. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)
2. Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND)

House Financial Services Committee
1. Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
2. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI)

House Foreign Affairs Committee
1. Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA)
2. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH)

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
1. Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC)
2. Rep. James Comer (R-KY)

House Natural Resources Committee
1. Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT)
2. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR)

House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
1. Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA)
2. Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL)

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
1. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA)
2. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH)

Democrat House Conferees (as formatted)

https://www.democraticleader.gov/newsroom/71818/

House Committee on Agriculture:

Ranking Member Collin Peterson of Minnesota
Congressman David Scott of Georgia
Congressman Jim Costa of California
Congressman Tim Walz of Minnesota
Congresswoman Marcia Fudge of Ohio
Congressman Jim McGovern of Massachusetts
Congressman Filemon Vela of Texas
Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico
Congresswoman Ann Kuster of New Hampshire
Congressman Tom O’Halleran of Arizona

Education and Workforce:
Congresswoman Alma Adams of North Carolina

Energy and Commerce:
Congressman Paul Tonko of New York

Financial Services:
Ranking Member Maxine Waters of California

Foreign Affairs:
Ranking Member Eliot Engel of New York

Natural Resources:
Ranking Member Raúl Grijalva of Arizona

Oversight and Government Reform:
Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands

Science, Space and Technology:
Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas

Transportation and Infrastructure:
Congresswoman Cheri Bustos of Illinois

Complete Analysis In PDF Format

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U.S. Visitor Arrivals To Cuba Decrease During First Half Of 2018

Thomson Reuters
London, United Kingdom
17 July 2018

Three different sources with access to Cuban tourism industry data said 68,000 Americans, not including Americans of Cuban origin on family visits, travelled to the island in June, a 5 percent increase from a year ago.

Even with that revival, the number of U.S. visitors to Cuba for the first half overall - not including Cuban-Americans - slumped 24 percent to 266,000, the sources said.

In the period January through June, some 50 percent of those U.S. visitors arrived on cruise ships, compared with 25 percent a year earlier, as operators such as Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd added more stops on the island to their itineraries.

The drop in U.S. travel in the first half in part mirrored a broader decline in the Cuban tourism industry as it struggled to recover from last year’s devastating hurricane season in the Caribbean, the sources said.

Still there was also a notable impact from the hostile Trump administration, which has sought to reverse some of Democratic former President Barack Obama’s opening to the island and has cracked down on independent Cuban travel by Americans.

Overall tourist arrivals to Cuba were down over 5 percent in the January-June period to roughly 2.5 million. That figure included the number of visitors arriving on cruise ships during the first six months, which was 379,000, up 45 percent.

In terms of boosting the economy, cruise arrivals tend to spend little, while those vacationing on the island spend much more at hotels, bed and breakfasts and restaurants.

The drop in tourism revenue is painful for Cuba’s Communist-run government, which is struggling with declining export revenues and dwindling support from crisis-hit ally Venezuela.

Combined with production problems resulting from bad weather, cuts in energy use and other imported supplies, the tourism slump may result in gross domestic product (GDP) growth of less than the 2 percent forecast by the government, according to Cuban economists who asked to remain anonymous.

The U.S. trade embargo restricts Americans who visit the island to non-tourist activities such as cultural, religious and educational travel or family visits.
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The Trump administration has made it more difficult for Americans to travel to Cuba on their own, banned them from patronizing military-owned establishments and issued a travel warning that it may be unsafe to visit there.

The overall visitor numbers also included Cuban-Americans visiting their homeland. That number increased by 21 percent during the first half of this year, to more than 250,000, compared with the same period in 2017, in part because it has become more difficult for relatives to visit the United States, the sources said.

Unexplained health incidents that sickened 26 U.S. diplomats, which the United States has sometimes referred to as attacks, led Washington to cut its Havana embassy to a skeletal staff last year, forcing Cubans to travel to third countries for U.S. visas.

Radio Cadena Agramonte
Camaguey, Cuba
31 July 2018

Havana, Cuba, Jul 31.- Although Cuba closed the first semester with 152,354 fewer international visitors than in the same period of the previous year, in June it achieved positive numbers that indicate a gradual recovery after the negative impacts caused by Hurricane Irma.

Data provided by expert José Luis Perelló show an accumulated decrease of 6.6 percent till May 31 compared to the same period in 2017, a result obtained precisely in the high season of Cuban tourism.

The information published on the website of the Excelencia magazine shows that in the first six months of this year, 2,505,874 travelers arrived on the island, and that in June the number of vacationers was similar to the amount in the same period of 2017.

According to Perelló, since the beginning of this year and during the first four months of the year there has been a drop in visitor arrivals, especially by air.

He said that the negative causes of the hurricanes that affected the Caribbean, as well as the entry into force of the restrictive measures on travel to Cuba adopted by the current United States government, had an impact on this behavior.      

The specialist argued that as a result of those regulations that ban individual travel people-to-people and further restrict tourism, business was reduced for most airlines that had established direct commercial flights from the U.S.

However, there was an increase in cruise ship trips, although it affects total revenues since they don’t stay in hotels, Perelló said.

During the period, 17 cruise lines operated in the nation with 25 vessels, four of them with itineraries from the United States: Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruises Lines, Carnival and Pearl Seas.

Authorities from the Ministry of Tourism (Mintur) say that although the decision of many travelers has been influenced by the perception of the damage caused by Irma last September, this destination has recovered and now exhibits a renewed image in its hotel and recreation facilities, particularly in the northern keys.

Since 2012, the arrival of international vacationers to Cuba has maintained an average growth rate of 13 percent, making the leisure industry one of the main sources of income for the national economy.

Last year, the country recorded a record number of 4,689,898 foreign visitors and an increase of 16.2 percent, a remarkable result when, worldwide, the movement of tourists is around four percent.

According to MINTUR, the goal for this year is to reach five million vacationers, while the country expects to add some 4,825 rooms. (ACN)

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Obama’s Commerce Secretary’s Family Could Have Largest U.S. Footprint In Cuba

Obama’s Commerce Secretary’s Family Could Have Largest U.S. Footprint In Cuba
Hotels & Cruises
Acquisition Of Hotel Company In Spain
U.S. Department Of State Reports One Hotel Is A Site Of Health Issues
One Hotel Has Chicago Mafia & Hollywood Roots
Will OFAC Approve?
Irony: Secretary Pritzker’s Self-Imposed Selective Restraint To Help U.S. Companies
Illinois 1st Among States With Companies Having A Physical Presence In Cuba

The Honorable Penny Pritzker (net worth approximately US$2.8 billion according to Forbes Magazine) served as United States Secretary of Commerce from 2013 to 2017 during the Obama Administration. 

Her brother, Mr. J.B. Pritzker, is the 2018 nominee for governor of the Democrat Party; and was national co-chairman of the 2008 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. 

Her cousin, Mr. Thomas J. Pritzker, is the Executive Chairman of Chicago, Illinois-based Hyatt Hotels Corporation (2017 revenues approximately US$4.6 billion) which is controlled by the Chicago, Illinois-based Pritzker Family (net worth approximately US$29 billion according to Forbes Magazine).  Mr. Pritzker is on the board of directors and has a substantial shareholding in Miami, Florida-based Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL; 2017 revenues approximately US$6.3 billion).  

RCCL has continued to expand sailings to the Republic of Cuba: https://www.royalcaribbeanpresscenter.com/press-release/1341/royal-caribbean-expands-sailings-to-cuba-in-2018/.  The company has not had a consistent message about its focus upon the Republic of Cuba: https://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/2/3/royal-caribbean-cruises-increases-2017-cuba-projections-175-for-passengers-150-for-revenues?rq=Penny%20Pritzker

While in office, then-United States Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker inexplicably created a non-sensical self-restrained interpretation of United States statues and United States regulations so that the interests of United States companies were unnecessarily curtailed during a pivotal series of moments from 2015 to 2017; including her 2015 visit to the Republic of Cuba where representatives of United States companies were prohibited from participating.  https://static1.squarespace.com/static/563a4585e4b00d0211e8dd7e/t/581f8240e3df287bcc8a0e5f/1478459972414/EconomicEyeOnCubaSpecialReportFebruary2016.pdf

Hyatt Hotels Corporation, with approximately 700 properties located in fifty countries made an offer, since amended, to acquire Madrid, Spain-based NH Hotel Group (2017 revenues approximately US$1.3 billion) with approximately 382 properties located in thirty countries.  https://newsroom.hyatt.com/nhhotelsstatement

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has previously sought hotel management opportunities within the Republic of Cuba: https://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/2/11/hyatt-hotels?rq=Hyatt

NH Hotel Group manages two properties in the Republic of Cuba each of which is owned by Republic of Cuba government-operated Gran Caribe: 31-room NH Collection Victoria La Habana (a favorite for business representatives and journalists for twenty-five years: https://www.nh-collection.com/hotel/nh-collection-victoria-la-habana and the 220-room NH Capri La Habana: https://www.nh-hotels.com/corporate/press-room/news/nh-hotel-group-brings-back-emblematic-hotel-capri-collaboration-gran-caribe-hotel.  Reservations for NH Capri La Habana may be obtained through www.booking.com.  Gran Caribe is not listed by the United States Department of State as a prohibited entity from engagement with United States companies.

The NH Capri La Habana was identified by the United States Department of State as one of two hotels within which employees of the United States Government reported experiencing issues that impacted their health.  The Hotel Nacional de Cuba, also owned by Gran Caribe, is the other hotel.

https://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/10/1/travelers-need-to-know-when-us-department-of-state-will-publish-addresses-of-implicated-locations-in-cuba?rq=Hotel%20Capri

If Hyatt Hotels Corporation acquires NH Hotel Group, likely will be required a license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury in Washington DC., as the ownership would not be in compliance with at least one opinion by the OFAC: A U.S. company or individual may make a secondary market investment in a third-country business which has commercial dealings within the Republic of Cuba provided that the investment does not result in control-in-fact of the third-country business by the U.S. investor and the third-country company does not derive a majority of its revenues from business activity within the Republic of Cuba.  Secondary market investment that falls short of a controlling interest in such a business is not prohibited. 

Would Obama Administration authorization for United States companies to obtain management contracts for properties in the Republic of Cuba be applicable to a wholly-owned foreign subsidiary of the United States-based company?  What will be the response by the government of the Republic of Cuba, specifically if Hyatt Hotels Corporation decided to terminate the management contracts?  What would the message be to United States companies given Secretary Pritzker’s role during the Obama Administration?

If Hyatt Hotels Corporation acquires NH Hotel Group, and continues to manage both properties located in the Republic of Cuba, Ms. Pritzker would become the highest-ranking former United States Government official to have a commercial engagement with the government of the Republic of Cuba.

One other United States-based hotel management company operates in the Republic of Cuba: In 2016, Stamford, Connecticut-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (a subsidiary of Bethesda, Maryland-based Marriott International) announced the company would manage three properties in the Republic of Cuba.  One property is operational; a second property has been delayed from December 2016 to December 2019; and a third property is no longer mentioned by the company.  https://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/5/10/starwoodmarriott-now-reporting-36-month-delay-to-manage-hotel-inglaterra-no-reasons-provided?rq=inglaterra

The State of Illinois has the largest number of companies with a physical presence in the Republic of Cuba: Distribution Centers: Moline, Illinois-based John Deere (2017 revenues approximately US$27 billion) and Peoria, Illinois-based Caterpillar Inc. (2017 revenues approximately US$38 billion).  Travel Services (including ticket office): Chicago, Illinois-based United Airlines, Inc. (2017 revenues approximately US$37 billion).  https://static1.squarespace.com/static/563a4585e4b00d0211e8dd7e/t/5aeb122a1ae6cf4e52a6831c/1525355050930/USCompaniesAndCuba.pdf

Complete Analysis In PDF Format (including reference articles)

Three Articles For Reference:

July 30, 2018

Hyatt backs off Spain's NH Hotels bid in face of Minor stake

By Sonya Dowsett

MADRID (Reuters) - Hyatt Hotels (H.N) has backed away from launching a takeover of NH Hotels (NHH.MC), days after a rival bidder Minor (MINT.BK) revealed it controlled 44 percent of the Spanish group.

In a letter from Hyatt released to the Spanish stock exchange by NH, the U.S. hospitality company, which on Friday said it may launch a cash bid for 100 percent of NH, said it saw pursuing an offer as extremely challenging.

“Based on the information we now have, we believe that the path to a successful tender offer by Hyatt under the terms expressed in our letter has narrowed to a point of being impractical,” Hyatt’s President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Hoplamazian said in the letter released on Monday.

Thailand-based Minor International made an offer in June which valued NH at up to 2.5 billion euros ($2.9 billion).

Minor already owns 29.8 percent with agreements in place to buy Chinese conglomerate HNA’s 8.4 percent holding and Oceanwood Capital Management’s 5.7 percent stakes. It said late on Friday it had control over 44 percent of NH’s share capital.

Shares in NH dropped 6.4 percent on Monday to 6.3 euros per share, slightly below Minor’s offer price.

NH, with over 370 hotels in 30 countries, in January turned down a takeover offer from Spanish peer Barcelo which valued the company at 2.48 billion euros.

Minor had agreed to pay HNA 622 million euros for a 26.5 percent stake in the hotel group, taking its stake to around 38 percent after the conversion of some bonds to shares. It would then offer 6.4 euros for each remaining share, it said.

Hotels Magazine

Chicago, Illinois

Hyatt makes move for NH Hotels; Minor adds shares

NH Collection Gran Hotel Calderón in Barcelona

By Jeff Weinstein on 7/27/2018

Hyatt Hotels Corp. has sent a non-binding letter to NH Hotel Group stating its interest in acquiring the Madrid-based hotel operator and challenging the June tender from Thailand’s Minor International, who later on Friday announced an additional investment, cumulatively totaling up to a 44% share in NH.

Minor’s June offer for NH, valued at €1.64 billion, is conditional on a scheduled August 9 approval from shareholders. On Friday, it announced a deal with Oceanwood Capital Management to purchase 22,496,064 shares in NH, representing a 5.7% shareholding, again subject to the approval at the August 9 meeting. It also has a pending deal to acquire from Tangla Spain SLU 32,937,996 NH shares representing an 8.4% share. It is already NH’s biggest shareholder with a 35.55% stake after acquiring HNA Group Co.’s stake in June.

Hyatt President and CEO Mark Hoplamazian said in a statement, “Hyatt has a demonstrated track record of making strategic investments to extend the reach of our brands and create value for our stakeholders. In keeping with our growth strategy, we submitted a letter expressing our interest in pursuing a potential acquisition of NH Hotel Group.

“We believe that marrying NH Hotel Group’s strong footprint in Europe and select other markets with Hyatt’s global presence would yield a powerful portfolio of brands and network of hotels delivering compelling benefits for guests, owners and shareholders of both companies.

“Consistent with our strategy of pivoting to an asset-lighter business model, we see significant value creation for shareholders through a separation of NH Hotel Group’s real-estate assets from its hotel management platform. As a next step, we are seeking to conduct additional due diligence to further inform valuation and determine the optimal approach to a potential offer.”

HOTELS asked Minor International to comment and only said, “this is a non-binding letter and Minor Hotels has no comment about it.”

Hotels Magazine

Chicago, Illinois

With new $724M stake, Minor to launch NH takeover bid

By Barbara Bohn on 6/6/2018

Minor International has set the stage to acquire Spain’s NH Hotel Group after reaching an agreement with HNA Group to increase its equity stake in the company by 25.2% on a fully diluted basis.

The new stake, which knocks Spain’s Grupo Barcelo out of the running for NH, is valued at €619 million (US$724.0 million). That brings Minor’s total proposed stake to 38%, which triggers Spanish regulations to launch a full takeover bid.

“Today we are embarking on a new era, driving investment strategy to further cement our footprint in the European hospitality industry,” said Dillip Rajakarier, CEO of Minor Hotels, according to a statement. “We will be able to create a network of over 540 hotels with a reach across Asia, Oceania, the Middle East, Africa and Europe, all of which are important hospitality regions around the world. The business network will allow the two companies to capitalize on our leadership positions in key growth areas, highly complementary asset and brand portfolio, technology platform and talented employees.”

Minor’s bid values the Spanish hotel group at up to €2.50 billion (US$2.90 billion); it said in a filing with the Spanish market regulator that it will offer €6.40 (US$7.49) for each remaining share in the company.

HNA’s sale, prompted by a restructuring to sell assets to raise cash, will take place in two stages: a 17.6% stake is expected to close on June 15, and when that is completed, it would sell a further 8.8%.

The deal is expected to close in September and would close a bumpy chapter for the Chinese company, which came under scrutiny by its government and has been, along with other Chinese hotel investors, squeezed to sell off its holdings in foreign companies. And NH knocked HNA’s representatives off its board after asserting that HNA’s 2016 purchase of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group was a conflict of interest.

Minor said it intends to keep NH Hotel Group, which has 382 hotels in 30 markets in Europe, the Americas and Africa, as a publicly listed company on the Madrid Stock Exchange.

Will Alimport Take Advantage Of Low U.S. Commodity Prices? They’ve Done It Before And Earned Gratitude For Doing It

Will Alimport Take Advantage Of Low U.S. Commodity Prices?  They’ve Done It Before And Earned Gratitude For Doing It

With the implementation of tariffs by the United States and on the United States impacting the export of corn, poultry and soybeans, watch for Alimport in the Republic of Cuba take advantage of lower prices to purchase commodities and gain the favor of farmers, exporters, organizations and politicians. 

During the last seventeen years, when United States agricultural commodity exporters and food product exporters have been challenged by political, regulatory and sanitary issues with exports (famously poultry) to China, European Union, and Russia, Alimport has gone shopping for commodities…. and earned high marks for doing so. 

The Republic of Cuba has purchased more than US$5.6 billion in agricultural commodities and food products on a cash-in-advance basis since 2001.  The Republic of Cuba currently ranks as the 51st of 229 export market countries for agricultural commodities and food products; and ahead of 19 of the 28 members of the European Union.  Agricultural commodity and food product exports from the United States to the Republic of Cuba thus far in 2018 have increased 15% compared to 2017. 

https://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2018/7/6/us-foodag-exports-to-cuba-decrease-in-may-2018-remains-15-above-2017

Direct Correspondent Banking has been permitted for 3 years; why hasn’t Home BancShares of Arkansas (Stonegate Bank) obtained the 50% of the OFAC license it needs to help U.S. food/ag exporters increase sales to Alimport Cuba?  Straight line payments could increase sales by +3%.

https://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2018/7/12/foodag-export-to-china-down-11-cuba-up-15-one-arkansas-bank-can-help

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GAO Has Recommendations For U.S. Airlines & Cuba

From The GAO:

"Did the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) follow its procedures to ensure the security of U.S.-bound aircraft from Cuba?

TSA generally followed its security procedures for airport assessments and air carrier inspections in Cuba in fiscal years 2012 through 2017. However, TSA did not inspect all the required aircraft from Cuba in the established time frames, in part because TSA was not able to identify or reliably track U.S.-bound public charter flights from Cuba.

We recommended that TSA develop a tool to reliably track air carriers' public charter operations between the U.S. and Cuba.

Transportation Security Administration inspectors prepare to inspect an aircraft at Frank Pais Airport in Holguin, Cuba"

Complete Report In PDF Format

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Food/Ag Exports To China Down 11%; Cuba Up 15%- One Arkansas Bank Can Help

July Update…. Revised U.S. Export Data

President Trump’s Problem: Food/Ag Tariffs By Canada, China, EU & Mexico

For 2018:
U.S. Food/Ag Exports To China Decreased 11.5%
U.S. Food/Ag Exports To Mexico Increased 1.3%
U.S. Food/Ag Exports To Canada Increased 1.3%
U.S. Food/Ag Exports To The EU Increased 14.4%

U.S. Food/Ag Exports To Cuba Increased 15.4%
Cuba Imported More Food/Ag Products From U.S. Than 19 Of 28 EU Members
Cuba Ranks 51st Of 229 Countries For U.S. Food/Ag Exports

A Viable Option
No Change To Law
One OFAC License Could Increase Exports
Home BancShares In Arkansas
Removing Foreign Banks From Transactions Can Increase U.S. Exports
Direct Banking Can Save Exporters 2%+ From Each Payment  
Where’s Arkansas’s Republican Governor & All-Republican Congressional Delegation?

Link To Complete Analysis In PDF Format

 

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U.S. & Cuba Hold 4th Law Enforcement Dialogue In Washington DC

United States and Cuba Hold Fourth Law Enforcement Dialogue in Washington, DC

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 10, 2018

The United States and Cuba held the fourth Law Enforcement Dialogue in Washington, DC on Tuesday, July 10. During the dialogue, the United States and Cuba addressed topics of bilateral interest on national security matters, including fugitives and the return of Cuban nationals with final orders of removal. The delegations also discussed the health attacks against diplomatic personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, including two recent cases. The U.S. delegation reminded the Cubans of their responsibility to protect U.S. diplomats from harm.

During the Dialogue, the delegations reviewed recent progress in the law enforcement relationship, such as new bilateral cooperation that resulted in the conviction of a Cuban national who murdered an American citizen and who had fled persecution in the United States, as well as areas where there is more work to be done, such as trafficking in persons.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs John Creamer, Department of Justice Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bruce Swartz, and Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Threat Prevention and Security Policy Elizabeth Neumann led the U.S. delegation. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director of Bilateral Affairs for the United States, Yuri A. Gala Lopez, and Ministry of Interior Colonel Nestor Borrero Calvo led the Cuban delegation.

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