Kentucky Queries: Why Trade with Cuba is Good for America

For our new blog series, Kentucky Queries, we’ll be taking a different question about world affairs or culture submitted by our members and followers and pose it to a local export. If you have a burning question of global importance that you’d like to see answered, you can ask it using this form.

Our inaugural question deals with the recent White House shift in Cuba policy:

What does the reversal of the Obama-Era Cuba policy mean for the American economy? What are the effects this change could have on Kentuckians?

Why Trade with Cuba is Good for America

by Dr. Robert Brown

A rollback of our Cuba policy would be bad for the Cuban people, bad for U.S. business, bad for U.S. national security and bad politics for President Trump.

Bad for the Cuban people: 

  • The Cuban people overwhelmingly support U.S. engagement. An increase in American travelers and trade has brought increased access to internet and dramatically strengthened Cuba’s growing private sector.
  • Every leading human rights organization agrees that the best way to improve the lives of the Cuban people is through increased engagement, not leaving the Cuban people stranded by returning isolationist policies.

Bad for U.S. Business: 

  • A rollback of Cuba policy would cost the U.S. economy $6.6 billion dollars and affect over 12,000 jobs. U.S. companies are interested in doing business in Cuba. But additional regulations on U.S. businesses will make it impossible for American companies to help bring Cuba into the 21st century.

Bad for U.S. National Security: 

  • The Cold War is over and Cuba is no longer a threat, but Cuba remains within an arms reach of Putin and China. If we reverse course with Cuba, we’d be creating a vacuum for our foreign adversaries to fill 90 miles away.
  • Ties between Moscow and Havana are strengthening at an alarming rate, if we pull out of Cuba, we would be opening the door for Russia to regain its once diminished influence in our backyard.

Bad politics: 

  • President Trump campaigned on the promise of removing burdensome regulations on U.S. businesses. A “reversal” of Cuba policy would actually ADD job-killing regulations on U.S. companies.
  • Morning Consult released a poll showing that 6 in 10 Republicans support policies that expanded travel to and trade with Cuba.
  • Over 60% of Cuban-Americans support these policies.
  • Recently, Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform led a group of conservative organizations in urging Trump not to reverse these changes that have helped U.S. businesses and spread free market ideas to Cuba.

Dr. Robert Brown is the chair of both the National District Export Council and its local Kentucky chapter, organizations dedicated to helping small and medium-sized businesses establish and increase export sales and improving our country’s economic growth.