New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and other business leaders are landing in Havana today to discuss trade and how they can expand their reach into Cuba. The trip will last 26 hours, and Cuomo’s delegation will meet with Cuban officials and businesses.
This all sounds dandy with Cuban relations easing, but Cuba is hardly an attractive market.
Cuba has approximately 11.3 million residents, about the same population as Ohio. Mr. Selig offered other cautionary notes: The average Cuban makes about $250 a year; Cuba imports $6.5 billion worth of goods a year, which is what the United States sells in a week to Canada; and Cuba remains a state-controlled economy, with three-quarters of the labor force working for the state.
Put all that together, and add in Cuba’s “widely underinvested infrastructure,” and Mr. Selig said “the opportunity is somewhat limited in the near term, and there will be challenges to U.S. companies when they do get access to the market.”
But what do I know? JetBlue, Pfizer, and MasterCard are all making the trip with Cuomo.
If you haven’t heard Havana Daydreamin’ by Jimmy Buffet, it’s a great tune.[NY Times]