The publication of a US$12 billion “authorized” value since January 2018 is misleading and unnecessarily reinforces questions of credibility for statements by the United States Department of State. Context is important.
Thus far in 2019, approximately US$186,114,479.00 (through 30 July 2019) in ag/food products have been exported from the United States to Cuba. Thus far in 2019, Cuba ranks 50th among 229 United States ag/food export markets. Exports in 2018 were US$224,910,413.00 and exports in 2017 were US$268,800,005.00.
For many years, through the Bush Administration, Obama Administration and thus far through the Trump Administration, United States exporters have been encouraged by the United States Department of Commerce to submit export license requests with gross estimates, often aspirational, so that they would not need to repeatedly seek licenses. Most licenses are valid for two years.
During the Bush Administration, the process was initiated at the recommendation of United States exporters to lessen often repetitive paperwork and was enthusiastically accepted by the United States Department of Commerce.
Important to note that the values placed in the license applications often are done without any input from the Cuba-based importer. As a result, the overall authorized values are often inflated.
This is not the first time an administration has misused the data- and previous administrations have corrected the context by which they have used the data.
LINK To 5 January 2017 Article From The Miami Herald:
Established in 1994, the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council provides an efficient and sustainable educational structure in which the United States business community may access accurate, consistent, and timely information and analysis on matters and issues of interest regarding United States-Republic of Cuba commercial, economic, and political relations.