Substantial Drop in U.S. Companies at Havana International Trade Fair

Monday, November 2, 2015
Despite the Obama Administration begging U.S. companies to participate in the Havana International Trade Fair -- and the media's sensationalism surrounding the event -- attendance was quite scant compared to previous years.

According to USA Today:

"More than 70 countries are represented at this week's trade fair, and dozens of U.S. companies are displaying their wares, from rice to building materials to tractors.

Myron Brilliant, executive director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, strolled through the central pavilion Monday and marveled at how quickly the relationship between the two countries has changed. The chamber hosted its first board meeting Monday of its U.S.-Cuba Business Council, and he said more than 50 representatives from 33 companies are on the trip."

Meanwhile, in 2003:

"With 14 Florida firms, the Sunshine State led 71 companies from 19 states selling grains, lumber, frozen chicken, fresh vegetables and other prepared and bulk foods." (Sun-Sentinel, 11/4/03)

And in 2007:

"[O]fficials from Minnesota, Alabama and Ohio — and more than 100 American businesses — were working the giant Havana International Fair, trying to secure part of the $1.6 billion the Cuban government spends each year to import sugar, wheat, livestock, poultry and beans, among other staples." (The New York Times, 11/12/07)

Part of the reason is because it's all mostly driven by lobbyists -- not by fundamentals.

But perhaps also U.S. businesses -- despite Obama's push -- have finally caught on to Castro's charade.