"There are substantial hurdles to clear before any U.S. business can count on trade with Cuba, noted officials at the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia, a nonprofit that has helped companies in Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey generate more than $1 billion in export sales since its creation in 2002.
Chief among them: "It's up to Congress to take affirmative action before restrictions can be eased or lifted," said Linda Mysliwy Conlin, president of the center and formerly vice chair of the U.S. Export-Import Bank.
"As a world trade center, we remain optimistic that when the timing is right and appropriate and the U.S. government lifts sanctions," Conlin said, "we will be ready to help our companies correctly assess opportunities and be able to navigate the complexities and risks."
Those are not minor, said Dino Ramos, the center's senior vice president of trade services.
"My main concern for our clients would be getting paid. Right now, the big problem is they [Cuba] lack hard currency. . . . And then the other caveat would be, right now, there are very few private-sector buyers. Most of the goods and services are controlled by government agencies. I don't think their government has much money."
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