Jet Charter and Doing Business in Cuba
Fewer than 100 miles of ocean separate the U.S. and Cuba, but the nations have spent the last five decades in different worlds. When JFK signed Presidential Proclamation 3447 on Feb. 3, 1962, creating “an embargo upon all trade” in response to a dispute over oil refineries, our relationship to this island nation was totally altered for the next half century.
The first steps back towards regular commerce began when Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro decided to normalize relations in December of 2014, and much had been achieved on the diplomatic front since then. But it’s very important to realize that while many rules and regulations on imports have been relaxed, the Cuban trade embargo is still currently in effect. Until Congress lifts the embargo completely, which will probably not occur until Obama leaves office in 2017, the rules of doing business in Cuba are still murky.
One rule change has now allowed American citizens to visit the island without the prior permission of the US Office of Foreign Assets Control, which was in place for many years. But visits must fall under one of 12 approved categories.
- Family visits
- Official business of the U.S. government
- Journalistic activity
- Professional research and professional meetings
- Educational activities
- Religious activities
- Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
- Support for the Cuban people
- Humanitarian projects
- Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
- Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials
- Certain export transactions
These categories are self-reported, meaning you need not submit your purpose for travel to Cuba in any official way. However, should you be asked about your reason for travel you should be able to readily provide detailed information about the purpose of your visit. Visits to Cuba with the intent of tourism are not permitted, with this ban strongly enforced.
Other than travel to the nation, including private jet charter to Cuba and Havana, and telecom services, most U.S. firms are not free to set up shop in Cuba yet. If your business is considering entering the Cuban market or making investment, there are certainly items to consider before doing so.
While it’s now legal for foreign companies (including U.S. ones) to own 100 percent of Cuban-based companies, the market remains heavily dominated by ventures that unite overseas firms with the Cuban government, where the state seeks a 51 percent ownership stake in all partnerships. Cuban leadership has stated they are “updating” their socialist system to make it more viable, not converting to capitalism.
There are also reservations about entering the Cuban market due to the uncertainty on the U.S. side. If companies are not absolutely certain that their business plan is legal, they will usually not take the risk. Finance is the life blood of commerce, and if funds cannot be easily transferred between Cuba and the United States, business will remain negligible. Though U.S. regulations allow for fund transfers involving licensed activities, inadvertently violating the rules can result in enormous fines.
Cuba’s infrastructure also lags those of neighboring countries. Its roads, energy grid, and digital network are far behind those of almost every other nation in the Caribbean. Broadband service is available in a small minority of places, many of which have struggled with even simple demands for electricity. Governmental decisions are opaque in many cases, and bureaucratic red tape makes decision-making notoriously slow.
But the country represents such a huge, lucrative opportunity that many U.S. companies are already laying the groundwork for full entrance into the market. The demographics are quite appealing longer-term. There are many corporate flights to Cuba being taken in ever-increasing numbers as business executives have gone to the country to lay the groundwork for future partnerships and deals. The massive opportunities of doing business in Cuba are represented by these facts:
- Cuba has more than 11 million brand new consumers, waiting almost sixty years for American goods and services
- The Port of Miami is just 198 nautical miles from the Port of Havana, easily facilitating trade
- Millions of U.S. tourists will need travel-related services for their planned vacations to the island, including hundreds of thousands of relatives in Florida who wish to bring many material goods to their families back home
- Not bound by the embargo, many European, Latin American, Chinese and Canadian companies are already actively pursuing business and bringing foreign investment to Cuba, especially now that the U.S. has expressed its own interest. Pressure to enter the market is steadily growing as U.S. companies seek to avoid competitive disadvantages with these rivals by entering the market after others.
- U.S. exports to Cuba from Florida are already expected to rise by at least 10% in the coming year
- 90% of Cubans own homes, typically the largest source of expense that any individual from any nation has. The amount of repair needed in the vast majority of these homes is a once-in-a-lifetime for companies like Home Depot and Lowe’s.
- Once these huge players in the industry enter the market, things like tools and building materials for these hundreds of thousands of homes can also be used for desperately needed updates to the country’s infrastructure. The entry of these industry giants could be one of the most significant signals when considering investment opportunities there.
For a global company, Cuba represents an enticing business opportunity, though companies must adapt to strict legislative controls still in place. Though unprecedented steps to encourage international investment have happened in recent years, including steep tax cuts, U.S. investment in Cuba must learn to function in different ways than any other market they operate in.
Despite restrictions, jet charter flights to Havana and throughout Cuba are becoming more commonplace as the rules are slowly being relaxed, a trend which will continue to grow. Skip the long, hassling process of commercial travel to Cuba, and sometimes waiting lists for your visit. Priority One Jets is ready for your jet charter flight to Cuba and Havana today, and we can get you to the island in luxurious comfort and convenience when you travel to Cuba with us.
Call one of our jet charter representatives at 888-671-5387 or contact us about your charter jet to Cuba online. We can have your jet waiting for you with as little as four hours’ notice. Our service to you is right in our name- Your Safe, Flexible and Comfortable Jet Charter Travel is Our Top Priority.