SOURCE: Cigar Advisor

Cigar Advisor

December 02, 2015 06:00 ET

Are You Ready to Buy Cuban Cigars Legally?

New Cigar Advisor Article Offers an Extensive Look at the Future of Trading With Cuba

EASTON, PA--(Marketwired - December 02, 2015) - "You're going to have to be a little more patient before you see any Cuban cigars advertised in future online cigar store emails," writes CigarAdvisor.com editor Gary Korb, who recently attended a conference in Miami titled, "Preparing for Trade with Cuba." The one day session was sponsored by Datamyne and NEXCO, two U.S.-based firms that have been active in helping American companies understand and work within the new trade regulations issued by the U.S. Treasury and Commerce Departments, which now permit U.S. businesses to trade commercially with Cuba.

"Since U.S. trade restrictions with Cuba were eased with regard to the ongoing embargo, I've had a number of cigar smokers ask me when Famous [Smoke Shop] was going to start selling Cuban cigars," said Mr. Korb. "I could tell they were hoping I would say something like, 'Next month,' or 'Next year,' but such is not the case... The process is complicated, [and] let's not forget that the United States and Cuba have not had a simpatico relationship for more than 50 years... Cuba has a vast centralized government. If you want to do business there, you're going to have to go through the top brass, both in the U.S. and Cuba, because Cuba prefers to work government to government, not government to private sector."

The article addresses a whole host of topics, starting with some facts on Cuban society, then moves on to the nuts and bolts of what U.S. companies need to do to obtain a legal foothold for doing business in Cuba. Among the many hoops businesses must jump through, the most important is submitting an application for a license with the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), an arm of the U.S. Treasury Department. Numerous resource links are also found throughout the article to give readers a more comprehensive view of what businesses should know before embarking on such a venture which, at this time, may be as risky as it is costly, because "American intentions are not yet fully trusted."

From the Cuban side of the table Mr. Korb cites that 97% of Cubans want relations with the U.S. Moreover, they have always wanted the embargo lifted and are well aware that change is coming. As of today, Cuba has increased health care product exports by 400%, re-opened embassies both in the U.S. & Cuba, and seen a substantial 39% increase in U.S. tourism. In 2016 Cuba will authorize the use of credit cards, Verizon has been given the go-ahead for wireless services, and at the end of 2018, Raul Castro, who is "allegedly, no longer a fan of egalitarianism," will step down to make way for a new president who will, hopefully, expand the current reforms even further.

Cubans are entrepreneurs by nature and are eager to do business with American companies. They're also eager for better pay, which right now amounts to around $24 a month for the average worker. The need for improving infrastructure in Cuba is vital, making opportunities ripe for companies in logistics and construction.

"Future business partners with Cuba should keep in mind that regulations and permissions are changing on an almost daily basis," says Mr. Korb. "All I can add to that is what one speaker advised U.S. business people to do: 'Embrace the culture.'"

To read the entire article click here.

About Cigar Advisor Magazine

Cigar Advisor magazine is a digital publication created by, and for, real cigar enthusiasts. The Editors strive every day to accomplish three goals: welcome novices to the hobby of cigar smoking with advice and open arms; share their tobacco-rich lifestyle with good friends and veteran smokers alike, and profess their love for a good smoke with cigar enthusiasts of all stripes, from around the world. Cigar smokers are a passionate bunch -- and whether it's food, drink, sports or cigars they're fanatical about, Cigar Advisor shares those passions with a razor-sharp edge. Find that passion and more on display at CigarAdvisor.com.

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Contact Information

  • Famous Smoke Shop
    90 Mort Drive
    Easton, Pa 18040
    800-564-2486