Since relations between the United States and Cuba have begun to warm, much of the new market opportunity has been focused on bringing American tourism to the country. Many airlines like Frontier, United and Southwest are jockeying to secure positions to provide services where there has been a 55-year drought between the two countries. Many cruise lines and other tourism services are on the heels of the airlines. There is no doubt that tourism will be a key economic driver for Cuba in the near future, but is it the only new market opportunity on which to focus?

2673034.jpgThe answer is a simple ‘NO’. Due to the long-standing trade embargo on Cuba, many industries within the country are basic and undeveloped. The agricultural industry is one example of a potential new market for growth. Sugar cane and tobacco farms are exceptions, but by-and-large the remaining crop industries are rudimentary. Many farmers do not use pesticides due to the cost, and the fortunate ones are lucky to have tractors that average 30 years in age.

This specific new market opportunity can mutually benefit both counties. The majority of the agricultural products that are produced in Cuba are essentially organic. With the right marketing and certifications, North America’s booming organic food market is a strong market to feed in the future. Cuban farmers can also increase their production by utilizing updated farming technologies from US and multinational conglomerates, which in turn allows them to feed more people in their own country and export a greater amount of produce. This industry is but one small example in an ocean of potential opportunities.

Other industries with new growth potential include Internet technology and e-commerce; energy; and the auto industry, to name a few. As many of us have seen in pictures of Cuba, the classic – almost antique – cars being driven on the streets of Havana are more out of necessity for Cubans than because they love to drive the classics. Due to the embargo, vehicles, parts and other products are expensive and hard to get. This is a prime market that would help Cuba’s transportation industry and manage the new flow of coming tourists.

When considering the future relationship between the US and Cuba, I remain on the optimistic side: that this will be good for both countries. Cuba has been cemented in a time warp for so many years that many of the country’s industry technologies remain decades behind the rest of the world. There are so many new market opportunities that lay ahead. Growing pains are to be expected along the way, but long term, it will be good for neighbors to get along who only live a short 90 miles away.

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