Say No to Castro's Oligarchs

Monday, May 26, 2014
In the following thoughtful review, former Deputy U.S. Trade Representative and current Covington & Burling partner, Amb. John Veroneau, reminds us of the dangers of prematurely and unconditionally lifting sanctions towards Cuba.

While we don't agree with some of the methodology proposed by the Peterson Institute's study, its cautions against the unconditional lifting of U.S. sanctions are right on point.

In The National Law Review:

Reciprocity Should Drive US-Cuba Normalization

Much has been written about current US-Cuba economic relations and whether the embargo should be ended. However, little has been written about what principles should shape US policy when the tectonic plates of US-Cuba relations eventually begin to shift — whenever that might be. A study released last week by the Peterson Institute for International Economics nicely fills this void.

The study, entitled, “Economic Normalization with Cuba: A Roadmap for Policy Makers”, was done by Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Barbara Kotschwar and provides a blueprint for restoring normal economic relations in a manner that serves the mutual best interests of the United States and Cuba.

The study calls on US policymakers to pursue a new economic relationship based on reciprocity and avoid a situation as occurred in Russia where US markets were opened without appreciation that the Russian economy would become dominated by oligarchs to the detriments not only of US exporters but the Russian people themselves. The Peterson study urges US policymakers to assure that, before US tourists start spending millions in Cuba and before US consumers begin buying imports from Cuba, that US businesses and workers have reciprocal access to the Cuba market.