US companies eager to embrace Cuba face hurdles

World Today

tourists take a ride in a classic American convertible car with the Cuban national flag painted on the trunk, in Havana, Cuba.

Cargill aims to sell more corn and soybeans. MasterCard covets another site for Americans to swipe credit cards. Marriott sees beachfront property that needs hotels.

And outside Orlando, Florida, Danny Howell just knows there would be demand for his classic Chevrolet parts.

American businesses have begun imagining ways to capitalize on last week’s announcement that the United States will restore diplomatic ties with Cuba and ease curbs on trade with one of the last surviving Communist regimes.

Their more ambitious plans would require that Congress lift the U.S. embargo on most exports to Cuba. Given sharp resistance from some in Congress, that might not happen soon. But many analysts think Congress will repeal the embargo eventually.

“It’s great news — it’s a totally untapped market,” said Seth Kaplowitz, a lawyer and lecturer in finance at San Diego State University.

All that said, Cuba experts have a message for any business that might be envisioning easy riches: Be patient.

This story is compiled with information from The Associated Press.