Cuba Exploration Mission

February 17-21, 2016

The (Iowa Economic Development Assoication) AKA IEDA will lead an exploratory mission to Cuba in February.

In December 2014, the U.S. and Cuba announced that full diplomatic ties would be restored for the first time in more than fifty years.  Since then several steps have been taken to ease the Cuba sanctions.  Support to end the embargo continues to grow.  The IEDA has participated in past business focused events in Cuba and will now lead a delegation from Iowa.  Meetings will be held with U.S. and Cuban government officials, associations, and university professors.  Tours will be arranged to farms, agriculture facilities and other sites to learn about Cuba’s changing economy and opportunities.

Details for both missions are available at


Depositphotos_gustavofrazaoMariel Bay, a $957 million port, at Cuba’s northern coast was built to have a better traffic handle from the large container ships and to serve as a transfer point.
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The Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Bahamas and Panama are competing to create better and more efficient ports.

Mariel was define by Jay Brickman, vice president of government services and Cuba service at Crowley Maritime, as the first-call facility, brand new and very modern port.

The Cuban participation in transshipment trade is import for all the other players in the region.

David Lewis, vice president of Washington-based consulting firm Manchester Trade, is optimistic about Mariel. “With the expansion of the Panama Canal, we all know there will be a need for transshipment of goods in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf ports,” he said. “That’s good positioning. The big push into Mariel means that the Port of Havana will be freed for tourism, which is what it should be for. That’s happening already.”

A free Zone for Mariel is also planned as the next step to modernization. Even with all the investment from foreign companies at Mariel free zone, U.S. will be a crucial member.

Bio-technology must be a propriety for Cuba. Almost a dozen biotech institutes were active in Cuba along with European pharmaceutical companies.

Prospects from all over the globe have visit Cuba for new opportunities. Among them is France, Mexico, Spain, UK and let’s not forget Canada, who had 70 years of unbroken ties with Cuba despite Castro revolution.

Mark Entwistle, a former ambassador from Canada to Cuba said the following:

“My advice: Do less pitching and more listening, and if your business is in areas where they are Cuba’s priorities, then you have a real good chance.”