On May 21, the U.S.-Cuba Business Council hosted a U.S.-Cuba Business Summit at the U.S. Senate with members of Congress, the private sector, and civil society to outline the case for a modernized bilateral economic relationship.
The Honorable Senator Patrick Leahy opened the Summit, and was joined by his distinguished colleagues, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Rep. Jim McGovern and Rep. Tom Emmer in underscoring the benefits of engagement, travel, and free enterprise between the two countries. They highlighted their bipartisan legislative initiatives in both the House and the Senate to lift the embargo and reverse commercial restrictions.
Participants also heard from U.S.-Cuba Business Council Chair Carlos Gutierrez, who kicked off the policy discussions, and former chargé d'affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Amb. Jeffrey DeLaurentis, on the current state of bilateral relations.
During a series of panels, members from the business, legal, civil society, and academic experts provided analysis on the economic impact of current U.S. policy, political changes taking place on the island, and the ways in which Helms-Burton Title III implementation undercuts the President's Memorandum on Cuba (NSPM-5) and U.S. engagement. Stakeholders highlighted the challenges U.S. private sector operations face in Cuba resulting from the complex policy framework, Helms-Burton Title III, and an atmosphere of regulatory uncertainty as additional travel and financial restrictions loom. Panelists also shared the ways that companies have been able to do business despite these difficulties.
The event concluded with an eye to the future, as Hill staffers discussed legislative possibilities for rapprochement and the opportunities for companies to make their voices heard in the policy debate.
For more information about the Summit and U.S.-Cuba Business Council's next steps, please contact USCBC Executive Director Kendra Gaither at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-463-3127.