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Doing Business in Cuba: Here's What You Need to Know

October 6, 2016 | Juan J. Rodriguez | Articles

In a recent Business Monday feature, The Miami Herald asked twelve Florida CEOs what advice they would give to entrepreneurs seeking new business ventures in Cuba. 

Each of the dozen highlighted unique considerations any such entrepreneur must keep in mind, but all twelve's answers had one overarching message: Be careful. Cuba's allure for private enterprise is that of the "untapped market," unsaturated and brimming with possibilities. Though American businesses will certainly have a role to play in the island's development as commercial barriers are dismantled, operating in the Cuban market presents a host of unique challenges. 

These CEOs are careful to warn eager entrepreneurs about the need for extensive preparation:

"Understand that running a business in Cuba may be vastly different than here and be aware of the costs and constraints of regulatory compliance and other governmental requirements."

"Understanding the regulatory barriers and market demand are the simple first steps necessary to determine a go vs. no go evaluation." 

"Understand the importance of respecting cultures and how business operates." 

As those with experience on the island point out, understanding Cuba is an absolute prerequisite for anyone seeking to expand there. But with an embargo in place for over half a century, few Americans have had the opportunity to truly understand the unique Cuban regulatory environment.

Carey Rodriguez Milian LLP recently launched its Cuba Practice Group to help guide US businesses through the labyrinth that is Cuban business law. Composed of Cuban and Cuban-descended lawyers, the Cuba Practice Group is "well positioned to advise on the complex regulatory, political, and economic environment on the island necessary to successfully manage risks and develop opportunities in this relatively untapped market," says CRMG partner Juan J. Rodriguez.

To buttress the Practice Group's capacity in this regard, CRMG partnered with Spanish law firm Díaz-Bastien Abogados (DBA), which has represented the interests of European corporate clients on the island for over 20 years.

"The idiosyncrasies of the Cuban political economy have made the island a very complicated place to do business," says DBA principal Luis Juega. Though the obstacles are numerous, the firm's decades of activity in Cuba, something American firms have been excluded from by law, gives the Cuba Practice Group a valuable edge.

"Our strategic alliance with Díaz-Bastien brings to the table concrete experience with the transformation process that Cuba will have to undergo," says Juan Rodriguez, "allowing us to better serve clients in the future, whether they be US or European interests." 

Read the full article in The Miami Herald here.

For more information on CRMG's Cuba Practice Group, click here. 

For more information of CRMG's strategic alliance with Díaz-Bastien Abogados, clickhere.