It is a historic moment in Cuba. The U.S. and Cuban presidents are meeting in Havana for the first time in 88 years.
CCTV America’s Michael Voss reports from Havana.
While Cuba continues to complain about the U.S. trade embargo, President Barack Obama has used his executive powers to relax a number of restrictions making it easier for American companies to do business in Cuba.
The most visible sign of renewed relations is all the Americans on the streets of Havana. Now Obama has further loosened the rules making it easier for people to come on their own rather than in expensive groups. That’s good news for U.S. airlines which are about to resume scheduled flights to Cuba.
And in a bid to boost trade and investment, Obama announced days before his visit that U.S. banks can now handle dollar transactions with Cuba.
Two U.S. telecommunications firms have signed roaming agreements with Cuba, and an American company has permission to manufacture small low tech tractors here, the first U.S. factory in Cuba since the revolution.
While U.S. companies are looking for investment and trade opportunities here, the Cubans would like to get into the U.S. market, in particular for their sophisticated pharmaceutical products.
Cuba’s biotech industry has developed a range of anti-cancer drugs and a treatment for diabetic foot ulcers. Last year, a New York cancer research institute agreed to test a Cuban lung cancer vaccine.
There’s been a regular stream of U.S. trade missions and business executives visiting Cuba over the past year. But progress in both directions could be slow.
Center for Economic and Policy Research Co-Director Mark Weisbrot on U.S. Investment in Cuba
For more on the future of business between the U.S. and Cuba, CCTV America’s Rachelle Akuffo spoke to Mark Weisbrot. He’s the Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research here in Washington.