News & Publications

Cuba launches exports to U.S.

Cuba sent its first load of charcoal to the U.S. this week.

Fred Katayama reports.

Cuba looks to rake in more money from charcoal. Cuba sent its initial load to the U.S. this week. Just $17,000 worth so it was largely symbolic. But it was the first legal Cuban export to the U.S. in five decades. Those shipments coming despite President Trump’s threat to undo the U.S. deal with Cuba. Cuban Agricultural Ministry official Wilfredo Arregui: SOUNDBITE: WILFREDO ARREGUI, OFFICIAL, CUBAN MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE (SPANISH) SAYING: “We continue to produce, independently of how the politics in the United States develops.” Cuba ships charcoal to six countries and hopes to add Britain and Germany as customers. As exports increase, charcoal worker Rolando Rodriguez says life has improved. SOUNDBITE: ROLANDO RODRIGUEZ, CHARCOAL WORKER, (SPANISH) SPEAKING: “As charcoal was exported, the salary got better. We could get things we didn’t have before, which we now have.” The U.S. trade embargo remains, but President Obama facilitated some commercial links. Cuba’s economy fell into a recession last year, so it hopes to boost trade with the U.S.    — Reuters

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Charcoal — first legal cargo from Cuba in more than 50 years — arrives at Port Everglades

The Miami Herald

January 24, 2017 1:46 PM

The first Cuban exports since the embargo went into effect over a half century ago arrived at Port Everglades Tuesday as port officials prepared to receive a business delegation from Cuba later in the week.

The delegation also plans to visit the Port of Palm Beach, which is located in Riviera Beach, and Port Tampa Bay during a swing through the United States that has already included a stop at the Port of Houston. Also on the itinerary are visits to the Port of New Orleans and the Port of Virginia in Norfolk and meetings with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C., members of Congress and the American Association of Port Authorities, which is holding a conference in Tampa.


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Sorry, no (Cuban) cigar. Just charcoal. Marabu charcoal.

PRI’s The World

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Reneo Consulting Announces Deal to Bring First Cuban Export to U.S. in More than Half a Century

 Agreement Marks New Era of Trade Between U.S. and Cuba

Washington, D.C., January 5, 2017 – Reneo Consulting LLC announced today that its subsidiary company Coabana Trading LLC has finalized an agreement with Cuba Export to import into the United States Marabu (sicklebush) charcoal produced in Cuba. This marks the first time in more than half a century that a Cuban-produced product will be exported from Cuba and sold in the United States.

“This is truly a momentous occasion,” said Scott Gilbert, Chairman of Reneo. “Marabu charcoal is widely viewed as the best artisanal charcoal in the world.   Now US consumers will be able to purchase this product, as have Europeans and others for many years.”

“More importantly,” Gilbert emphasized, “this marks the beginning of a new era of trade between the United States and Cuba. This is a perfect example of a win-win for both our countries. The Marabu plant is an invasive weed that clogs otherwise fertile organic fields in Cuba – now it can be used to produce this fantastic artisanal charcoal, thereby clearing the fields and making them available for agricultural growth.”

“Marabu charcoal is cut and produced by private Cuban cooperatives, providing them with a growing market less than 100 miles away. This is but the first step in what should be a blossoming trade relationship involving many different products,” said Gilbert.

“Of course,” Gilbert added, “we still are severely limited in what we can do by the so-called embargo, the most severe trade and travel restrictions we have imposed on any country in the world. This demonstrably failed relic of the cold war should be consigned to the trash heap of history, where it belongs. For those who may disagree, I urge you to travel to Cuba, to interact with the Cuban people, to see what works and what does not, and then to make a considered judgment. In the meantime, we will do all that we can to expand our economic relations with the people of Cuba.”

Cuban Marabu charcoal should be available in the United States in early 2017, marketed by Fogo Charcoal, a subsidiary of Susshi International Inc. and sold through various retailers.

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About Reneo Consulting LLC

Reneo Consulting LLC is a strategic consulting firm helping businesses, private and public organizations, and individuals resolve their most intractable and complicated challenges. Reneo is well-versed in crisis management and international strategic negotiation among other practices which ensure our clients’ core business interests are maintained.

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Signing Ceremony for Historic Cuban Export Deal

View video of Scott Gilbert of Reneo Consulting LLC and Isabel O’Reilly of CubaExport signing Cuban export deal in Havana.

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Cuba – The “Race” to Cuba is a Marathon Not a Sprint

Emily Grim and Michael Hatley will lead a roundtable discussion about opportunities for American businesses in Cuba. There are various legal and business challenges that corporations will need to navigate to do business in Cuba. This roundtable discussion will focus on the current legal and business issues that every organization needs to address in order to operate in Cuba.

When:  October 25, 2016
Where:  New York, NY
Event Organizer:  American Lawyer Media:  In-House Innovates East

Please click here for more information and to register.

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Opinion: U.S. companies should pay close attention to new co-op rules in Cuba

Considered in isolation, the Cuban government’s mid-April decision to widen the purchasing prerogatives available to the island’s privately held cooperatives is a modest step of little international significance. But given the central role played by Cuban co-ops in the shifting regulatory landscape governing the relationship between Cuba and the United States, U.S. companies seeking business opportunities in Cuba should be paying close attention.

Read the entire article here.

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Former US Marine sues Iran over 4 1/2-year imprisonment

Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine who was imprisoned in Iran for more than four years after being sentenced to death for spying, is suing Tehran for alleged torture during his time in detention, his attorneys said Tuesday.

The lawsuit, stating that Hekmati was arrested on fabricated charges and then tortured by his captors, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. It seeks unspecified economic, compensatory and punitive damages from Tehran.

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Former Marine suing Iran

A former U.S. Marine who was held prisoner in Iran for more than four years is suing the Islamist-led country, seeking damages for torture he endured while in custody, his lawyers announced Monday.

Amir Hekmati, an Iranian-American from Michigan, was convicted on vague espionage charges after being taken into custody while on a visit to Iran. He and three other Americans of Iranian descent were released earlier this year as part of a prisoner swap negotiated between Iranian officials and the Obama administration.
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The lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and it seeks economic, compensatory, and punitive damages from a country that does not have diplomatic ties with the United States and is unlikely to recognize any court ruling against it.

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Facilitating U.S. – Cuba Business Partnerships

On December 17, 2014, President Obama announced the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba. Today, just a short-time after the president’s historic visit to Havana, American citizens are left wondering how this shift in diplomatic relations will affect our country and, more importantly, what our changing relationship with Cuba looks like moving forward.

The bottom-line is that mutually beneficial trade and business partnerships between the U.S. and Cuba have the potential to spur jobs and growth in both countries. As we embark on these new business partnerships, two significant steps must be taken to facilitate sustained and successful relationships.

First, U.S. businesses entering the Cuban marketplace must have access to appropriate insurance to build confidence in the security of their investments. Use of insurance by early U.S. movers in the Cuban realm will set essential precedent for how future business deals between the U.S. and Cuba are structured.

Commentary originally published by Read the entire article here.

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