NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

What Would The U.S. Gain From Ending The Cuban Embargo?

May 22, 2002

There has been little in-depth analysis of the economic impact on the U.S. of lifting the Cuban embargo. Some debaters claim substantial trade advantages for the U.S. -- particularly in agriculture. But that's far from certain, because "vibrant" is not the word that comes to mind in discussing Cuba and its economy.

  • With 11 million people, Cuba is about the size of Belgium.
  • But while Belgium's gross domestic product last year stood at $259 billion, Cuba's was just $19 billion.
  • Belgium imported $13 billion in goods from the U.S. last year, while Cuba's total imports were just $3.4 billion.
  • Some analysts claim that if the embargo were lifted, the U.S. could export $1 billion a year in foodstuffs to the island -- but that would represent less than 2 percent of overall U.S. food exports.

But whether it's agriculture or tourism, Cuba's future is on hold until the country restructures itself economically, experts say.

Source: Joseph Guinto, "End To Cuba Trade Embargo Won't Be Gold Mine For U.S.," Investor's Business Daily, May 22, 2002.


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