Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Bahamas Ban Processed Meat From Brazil

Processed Meat From Brazil Banned



By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
aturnquest@tribunemedia.net


THE MINISTRY of Agriculture and Marine Resources yesterday announced a ban on all processed meat imports from Brazil for the next two months as a precaution following the shocking bribery scandal unfolding in the South American country.

The government of Brazil has suspended exports from 21 meat-processing units due to food inspectors taking bribes to allow sales of rotten and salmonella-tainted meats.

“To safeguard public health and food safety in the Bahamas,” a ministry press statement read, “the Minister for Agriculture and Marine Resources, the Hon V Alfred Gray, has announced a precautionary ban of meat imports from Brazil.

“Until further notice, no permits for the importation of processed meat products from Brazil will be issued. This includes corned beef as well as other beef products and beef by-products.

“The Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources will continue to monitor this issue over the next 60 days and should we be satisfied that imports from Brazil be resumed, it would be with the following proviso: beef must be slaughtered and processed at an approved Government abattoir and processing facility; a Sanitary certificate should accompany all imports from Brazil; inspection of all batch containers be done at the Port of Entry; an Import Permit must be sought by all importers from the relevant Government agency; and a registry must be compiled of all importers of beef and beef products from Brazil.”

March 22, 2017

Friday, March 10, 2017

Barbados – as with the rest of the Caribbean – have inherited a command and punish economic model ...that was meant for controlling ostensibly brainless people ...of whom nothing was expected

WHITHER BARBADOS; THE CARIBBEAN MARCH OF DEBT!

By Professor Gilbert NMO Morris:



Gilbert NMO Morris
Almost 3 and a half years ago, I wrote in the NATION NEWSPAPER with a heavy heart for Barbados: here is what I said:

Professor Gilbert Morris December 13, 2013 at 7:40 PM

“The Minister of Finance for Barbados has issued a comprehensive Short Term Growth & Sustainability programme. It will not work.”

I am constrained to say I TOLD YOU SO!

The difficulty for Barbados – as with the rest of the Caribbean – is that we inherited a command and punish economic model, that was meant for controlling ostensibly brainless people of whom nothing was expected. Our innovation across the region was to add cronyism and the facilitation of lackeys at the expense of our bright young entrepreneurial minds. As such, across the region, we have produced an economic model that is scloretic, for which our politics have become the tribal art of attempting to defend obvious nonsense.

Our people know now that their chance of becoming their best selves and living their best lives is not at home, where – in Barbados as much as anywhere else in the region – successive governments have succeeded in cultivating a caste system, incompatible not only with the moral imperatives of our relevant histories, but also with the yearning, ambition and native genius of our peoples.

Barbados has lead the world in Literacy Rates, but to what purpose?

Bajans regale themselves with their comparative successes in the mark book, but where is the “silicon valley”?

Barbados needs a comprehensive rethink.

It’s future lies NOT a stale inert economic model that has produced one billionaire and a host of rent-seeking lackeys in 40-odd years.

The crisis is now in the home stretch: Barbados bond yields led a global spike and now ranks with the Republic of Congo; its debt is 135% of GDP; and its reserves have fallen to half a billion; shockingly merely 2.5 months of imports. (They need to cook with steam, for Chrissake!) Whilst it's interest payments are just over $50 million this year, Janet Yellen is likely to raise interest rates again this year. Barbados 2022 maturities have risen 146 basis points since January 20th 2017. Moreover, BREXIT impacts, crony run public institutions and domestic debt are likely to balloon next year.

A similar fate awaits the Bahamas.

HERE IS WHAT TO DO:

Start over. Rescind all oversight commissions!

Appoint My good friend Sir Courtney Blackman and 16 others to a National Steering Committee and manage this crisis for the next 6 months with a maximum of transparency, with the power to subpoena persons and papers for public testimony on all fiscal and economic issues.

Hold National Public Discussion about the current and Future of Barbados; deal with structural issues that limit or prevent Bajans from achieving their best lives in their own country.

Cut government spending now!

End all feckless liberal-minded enterprise projects, which just pay lackeys at the expense of efficiency and true achievement (Compare Singapore, which seeds parastatal corporations and then let’s them sink or swim and if they cannot produce financials they are foreclosed immediately by the Treasury).

Give EVERY Bajan who wants a business license to establish a business aimed at export, licensee fee and tax exemption for 10 years.

Move all government routine processes – drivers & business licenses, government fees and other processes to eGovernment platform immediately.

Convert all government payments to blockchain using Bitcoin or other electronic alternatives.

Place all government owned infrastructure and land into a sovereign fund, 60% held by Bajan citizens, then JV with a global strategic partner.

Eliminate the Ministry of Tourism.

Convince all CARICOM nations to withdraw from the WTO.

Open Harrison College to South Americans for Boarding school.

JV with Guyana to fund a super trade highway into Brazil, to provide a staple of Brazilian products to the Caribbean, to compete with Florida.

Set up Barbadian International Business Centre with Arbitration and commercial services for South American business.

Establish a 100 acres area as a tax free zone for international data storage and management.

The first options must be to reduce government expenses, and reduce the cost of doing business in Barbados, which has one of every tax in the history of mankind.

Reduce governments tax share of GDP to below 18%.

Use timing options for initiatives, which allows government to maximize policy options squeezing out efficiencies, then switch to more sustainable programmes.


Barbados Debt

Source

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

An Important Discussion on the Inflows of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in The Bahamas

By Professor Gilbert Morris:



Gilbert Morris
AN IMPORTANT DISCUSSION HAS EMERGED SURROUNDING INFLOWS OF FDI IN THE BAHAMAS, lead by our own young prince Professor Peter Blair, moderated by our own Lester R Cox - including bright Bahamian thinkers like Lynden R. Nairn & Hubert Edwards and others. I make this small contribution for which some friends have asked a repost.

"I think there has been some misunderstanding of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and some people have misread what Professor Peter Blair has said in his recent presentation.

First, look specifically at the top four nations receiving FDI INFLOWS (EU, China Hong Kong & USA), now look at their growth rates: The EU with the highest FDI inflows has the lowest growth rate. China, with the highest growth rate has the lowest FDI of the top four nations.

Of course these are relative & constitutive issues and limiting factors in any comparison; but Papua New Guinea, the Congo, Ethiopia and Turkmenistan enjoy the highest growth rates in the world; but with the exception of Ethiopia, investors are not flocking there.

Yet, neither growth rates nor FDI inflows indicate, NECESSARILY, the actual prosperity which Bahamians have been promised and for which they are waiting.

Let's try a thought experiment: Imagine, say INFOSYS - the Indian tech giant - decided to invest $100 billion in building 50 industrial grade Data Centres in the Bahamas. Suppose they required specialists to build and once built the centres required only 50 people (all foreigners with exotic high tech post graduate qualifications to manage them), with a maintenance crew of 20, including 10 Bahamians. The government would register that as $100 billion in FDI inflows, but its "dead value" and would do nothing to generate the sort of growth that produces PROSPERITY.

There would be no transactional nexus, from which local consumption would be generated no matter how much money it made.

Let's try another thought experiment for the opposite case: Imagine a former Green Beret, expert in coding and information systems & network security, gets with 10 friends, retires to the Bahamas. Imagine that he and his friends teach 300 young Bahamians coding, encryption and mathematical logic on weekends and evenings for 3 years. Imagine that this leads to the development of 50 high tech web security firms and they gain $300 million in electronic security contracts for Banking.

This would not be classified as FDI, but would impact our economic growth rate and power local consumption, generating that prosperity, which Bahamians desire rightly.

What Professor Blair showed was not whether FDI was good or bad or even necessary. HERE IS WHAT HE DEMONSTRATED BRILLIANTLY: a.That our having leaned on FDI inflows in disproportion to development for instance, has resulted in nebulous quantifiable advantages; b. That we have no means of measuring the efficiency of FDI as a driver of growth; and c. Therefore we have been lurching to & fro, using FDI inflows to cover a multitude of sins, operating without a strategy.

Source

Sunday, February 19, 2017

There are four things Donald Trump can do to be the greatest President in modern history

Robert David STEELE Vivas

Robert Steele: Memorandum for the President – Warning on a Violent American Spring, Eight Actions for Donald Trump to Make America Great Again

 











MEMORANDUM FOR THE PRESIDENT

WARNING: You have 30 days to settle the country. A violent “American Spring” looms.

You are under attack on three fronts:
  1. The Extreme Left & the controlled “fake news” MSM
  2. US Neo-Conservatives led by Dick Cheney, funded by foreigners
  3. The Deep State of entrenched senior officials combined with Senators and Representatives being blackmailed and bribed to betray the Republic.
You are not under attack from Iran or Russia – all your existential fights are right here.

There are four things you need to do immediately in order to survive:

45th President of the United States

  1. Switch out Preibus and Flynn — smart choices for the transition, they are undermining you now, Tillerson and Mattis probably agree they both need to go. You need a loyal Chief of Staff who can manage complexity, and a National Strategy Advisor with balance.
  2. Introduce the Electoral Reform Act of 2017 and demand that it go through – this is the only way you will survive the looming demise of the Republican Party; the only way you legitimize your accidental 27% presidency with a majority of the public; and the only way you free Members from foreign and financial community bribery and blackmail.
  3. Create the non-profit educational Trump Channel backed up by an Open Source Agency. Clear the existing press area in the White House, turn that into Trump Studios, and offer a daily fireside chat as well as short daily briefs by your principals in turn on each threat, each policy, each budget – bypass the fake news media, educate the public, and use PollMole to see what 200 million think on a Presidential Dashboard.
  4. Unleash the FBI, with NSA support, against the Deep State. You may have already started this, the Republican and Democratic Party pedophiles are the Achilles heel. We can isolate 500 other embedded traitors (financial, religious, ideological) in 90 days.
There are four things you can do to be the greatest President in modern history.
  1. Diversify your senior team – adding Cynthia McKinney and Dennis Kucinich – and Ralph Nader and Jesse Ventura in some capacity – will strangle the extreme left and open up the middle. Take your diversified team on the road – 50 states in 30 days.
  2. Organize a Grand Strategy Summit, televised for public consumption – the ultimate reality show. The last one was done in 1953 by Ike Eisenhower. Address all high level threats and all Cabinet policy domains in context of achieving a balanced budget.
  3. Organize a Revenue Summit, televised for public consumption, in which you invite Dr. Edgar Feige of Wisconsin to brief his idea of an Automated Payment Transaction Tax that allows you to eliminate all other taxes, especially income taxes. This fractional tax puts the tiny burden where it should be: on Wall Street instead of Main Street. Allow the public to scrutinize the alternatives you have been considering. You will be a hero.
  4. Invite every citizen in debt to sign a Debt Renunciation Pledge on a non-profit website, authorizing you to negotiate, on their behalf, a reduction of the three trillion dollars in student debt, elderly medical debt, and small business and family credit card debt. This will connect you to 150 million or more citizens and empower you against Wall Street.
Background:  Former CIA Spy Has A Surprising Message For Trump
Talk To: Robert David Steele
PRINTABLE DOC (1 Page): MEMORANDUM FOR THE PRESIDENT
UPDATE: 30 minute audio with Dr. Dave Janda, recorded Sunday, 12 February 2017
Source

 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

JOSE MARTI – By Dr. kevin Alcena


“Deo adjuvante, non timendum.”
“With God as My Helper, I have nothing to fear”



Jose Marti was a man with political ambition with a difference
Unlike men with political ambition, Jose Marti was a man with political ambition with a difference: a difference that propels a political activist, poet, journalist and teacher to attain national heroic status in the Republic of Cuba. Born in 1853, Jose Marti became a known activist against established foreign institutions and powers that dominated Cuba. He suffered and labored for the people notwithstanding the level of oppression by colonial powers against him and his people. No wonder he wrote that "Men of action, above all those whose actions are guided by love, live forever. Other famous men, those of much talk and few deeds, soon evaporate." His love for his people is immeasurable and profound, without form and shape and not bounded by any potential personal gain.

Jose Marti’s dedicated and zealous pursuit of freedom resulted in many incarceration with authorities right from an early age of 17 when he was exiled to Spain for being vociferously against the colonial rule suppression of the people of Cuba and exploiting the natural resources of Cuba.

Jose Marti selflessly took up the task of educating the people of Cuba to contradict the political system of the colonial powers in order to raise awareness with the generality of the people of Cuba to stand up for their rights. He used his expertise in poetry, and journalistic edge to advance his fight for the freedom of the Republic of Cuba from foreign domination.

Most interestingly, Jose Marti was very plain in denouncing the lack of spirituality and arrogance in the colonial powers’ approach to the manipulation of Cuba. He was strongly in support of democratic principles that will provide and assure ordinary Cubans the greater national security, respect of dignity of being a Cuban.

His zeal for the development of Cuba and freeing Cuba from the domination led him to leave the shores of the US (where he had flee to avoid the retribution of colonial masters) to join the war in Cuba for the independence of Cuba.

Jose Marti was a man with courage to leave his comfort in the US to fight for his people without concern of his personal safety, but with vision of the future of the free Republic of Cuba.

Against advice from friends and well-wishers for his welfare and safety and his lack of military training, Jose Marti valiantly went to Cuba to fight the war in favor of his beloved country, which resulted in his death. This conforms to his philosophy that "just as he who gives his life to serve a great idea is admirable, he who avails himself of a great idea to serve his personal hopes of glory and power is abominable, even if he too risks his life. To give one's life is a right only when one gives it unselfishly.”

Jose Marti was one of the most prolific writers in the Hispanic world that helped to transform Cuban arts and cultures. He was a man of great ideas and philosophy that was ahead of his peers.

His vision and thoughts were innovative and constructive to help the development of democracy in Cuba, as he wrote in one of his famous quote that: ”like stones rolling down hills, fair ideas reach their objectives despite all obstacles and barriers. It may be possible to speed or hinder them, but impossible to stop them."

In the views of Jose Marti, “the struggles waged by nations are weak only when they lack support’…wisdom and the ability to insist on agreement."

This is not political - it's perversity. It is not even the Superego judging the Ego. It is our own capacity for hate, increasing until it becomes a kind of compulsion - neurosis where reverence and destruction alternate and we reverently destroy. We falter and faint and deny him thrice.

We develop sympathy at the expense of loyalty. I don't like it. It just ain't right.
Where is the outcry? We have become silent spectators, eagerly awaiting our daily dose of public scandal, noisy expulsions and excommunications especially from misinformation from the social media. the Neo - con is in charge they are not play with us, misinformation.

''A man must swallow a toad every morning if he wishes to be sure of finding nothing still more disgusting before the day is over.'' (Morley)

We must stop this. It's not right. There is no honour in this battle. There is no dignity in this death. There are no victors on this battleground of shame. Only a man with the shield of Perseus against the ghosts of character assassination. By the Neo -Con Racism!

''Whatever you blame, that you have done yourself.'' (Groddeck) There is no hate without fear. Hate is the consequence of fear. We hate what we fear and so where hate is, fear is lurking.

We must stop this moth-and-candle preoccupation with hate, this triumph of resentment, this abuse of intellect, this perversion of the heart that obliterates our knowledge of the purpose of life; that denies the God within us, wantonly exterminated. I don't like it. It just ain't right.

"Trumpism" is coming to destroy all of us; we must fight against this - and also never forget the the words of brother Jose Marti .

The world failed to respond to this abhorrent issue, of Trumpism Neo-con Foolish. According to E. M Forster:”if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my friend”. It is imperative that our Cabinet Ministers understand the significance of this games that Trumpism has instigated against the World and Mexico.

Let’s not forget that our greatest friend is our greatest nightmare: that is the United States of America. They enjoy the art of propaganda and manipulation.

President Fidel Castro said in an address on the celebration of the 51st Anniversary of the Attack on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cedspedes Fortresses, “I shall address a sinister character that keeps threatening, insulting and slandering us. This is not a whim or an agreeable option; it is a necessity and a duty”

Dr. kevin Alcena - FaceBook

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

America is now on its way to becoming a mendacious autocratic kakistocracy!

TRUMP BEYOND POLITICS:

By Gilbert Morris -

Gilbert Morris's Profile Photo

What we are witnessing - extended from the very beginning of the Republic - is a civil war. One both within the Republican Party and one between that party as it will emerge and the Democrats. Make not mistake, Paul Ryan and others - blind and spineless as they have been - haven't a clue about what a tiger they have latched onto.

Again, I am a free market, small government, self-help, strong military, balance-of-power realpolitik true believer; who believes in a green future, advance technology efficiencies and transparency in government. I reject secrecy in government, love term limits, and believe in Main Street over Wall Street to use an American term.

I believe in the rule of law, and a strong well-funded police, and severe penalties for police officers who - using bias of any kind - abuses the public trust.

Above all, I believe in human value and the application of politics to secure the same; with a capacity for political ruthlessness, not because someone criticizes you, but when they employ resources seeking to undermine you and your office then prudence demands you release hell upon such vipers with unrelenting relish.

But this is not what is motivating the current political upheaval in America.

When I warned about Mr. Obama in May of 2008, many good friends - speaking kindergarten sweet sounding nonsense - told me I should "be positive".

I tell you now, Trump will not turn America around. The economic numbers do not project it and his concept of the US economy is not merely wrong, but a 19th century concept. Trade is NOT THE PROBLEM for

America. The problem is technology is eliminating jobs faster than they can be replaced.
It is telling that Mr. Trump has children in their 20s and 30s who should be able to speak on the impacts of technology; and yet not once have we heard from them a statement of the high tech digital future, environmental options for green energy development, sympathy for any distressed peoples or anything original or life-giving.

They seem cold and merely suckling on their father's businesses. They are not partners with people like Elon Musk or Zuckerberg or the Google boys. Nothing! The central reason - I suspect - is those people I named are supremely talented, and are inventing the future, as Trump's children merely work in a business daddy created and have not between them advanced a single innovation we know of.

This does not mean they are not intelligent or even nice. However it is telling, even if compared for instance with the young men of the same age that inherited the Fiat fortune in Italy; who by comparison are in innovation design, charities, arts and culture, breaking the mould.

What this means is there is no one to tell him differently, and one must not expect Giuliani or Gingrich - two men, whatever their talents - who live on the fringe of political lackydom and what they have not compromised in the venal personal lives, they have slaughtered in defending utter flaming bullshit for Trump.

Humans can become overwhelmed by moments and find in themselves in grace and power to make the world better.

Mr. Trump has a talent for self-promotion and to the extent that that has helped him produce nice very very shiny buildings, it always leaves a wreckage of abuse, broken contracts and cruelty behind it.

Then he uses media and the courts to muddy the situation until his victims give up. That is his factual record. Call it "good business" or "genius" if you like, but it is hucksterism and a hustler's ethic. Microsoft created over 1000 millionaires and a dozen billionaires, changed way of lives function; so did Google and certainly Apple. Warren Buffet did so almost single handedly - giving $32 billion - 16 times Trump's net worth - in one go, when he began with nothing and Trump began with $40 million.

That is good business.

What you will have in a Trump administration is an ongoing Republican fight that has NOTHING to do with changing America, and people of the most divisive record and hateful deeds and language presented as managers of the levers of the American state over the very people they have demonized, vilified and marginalized.

I say, Hilary would have been awful in many ways, and many Democrats are as venal.

It does not take away that America is now on its way to becoming a mendacious autocratic kakistocracy!

From Gilbert Morris - Facebook

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The European Union (EU) relations with Cuba

U.S.-Cuban rapprochement and the European Union – part 1


By CLéMENT DOLEAC


The European Union (EU), which has been working to normalize its ties with Cuba since 2010, defined the announcement of the reestablishment of the United States-Cuban relations as a “historical turning point.” The EU foreign affairs head, Frederica Mogherini said that “another wall has started to fall,” and that the European Union is willing to “expand relations with all parts of Cuban society.”

Representatives from Cuba and the EU will meet this month for a third round of negotiations aimed at normalizing relations after a decade tainted by the already recognized hypocritical European Union Common Position which pressed Cuba to discuss human rights and the role of civil society in the Cuban politics.

These new negotiations cannot help but bring on a high level of uncertainty because the turn in US-Cuban relations will impact EU-Cuba relations. Among other concerns, the economic standing of the European Union in Cuba as its second largest trading partner remains at risk.

EU common position and the progressive improvement of EU-Cuba relationship

In 1996, the then-15 EU member states adopted a common position (CP) related to Cuba. Under conservative Spanish leadership this position supported the latest US round of sanctions against Cuba, the Helms-Burton Act, which had the clear objective of tightening restrictions against the Castro regime. The US and EU intended to force the Cuban government to reform different sectors of its economy and society, and its political system, including the human rights situation.

Unsurprisingly, the CP was strongly criticized by Cuban authorities and led to a political stalemate between the EU and Cuba. Despite such a tense political situation, European companies were among the first to invest in Cuba when the government loosened economic restrictions in 1995, known as the “special period in times of peace” following the Soviet Union’s collapse which resulted in Cuba’s GDP falling 30 percent in four years.

However, European companies had to comply with the extremely strict and restrictive application of rules on foreign investments imposed by the Cuban government such as the obligation to submit to a 50/50 joint-venture with the state, the difficulties of repatriating dividends, and the impossibility of managing human resources directly.

Even with the CP, the EU had always been significantly less strict than the United States toward Cuba. The EU gradually improved ties with Cuba during the last two decades. In fact, 18 member states of the European Union have signed cooperation agreements with Cuba.

Also, as one observer put it, “[the EU has] never excluded Cuba from participating in their summits with Latin America and the Caribbean, such as the Iberoamerican conferences of heads of states and government since 1992, and the Latin America and Caribbean-European Union summit gatherings since 1994.”

However, in July 2003, several independent journalists, trade union activists and dissidents were arrested across Cuba, and accused of conspiracy for cooperating with the director of the US Interest Section in Cuba, James Cason. The accusations were based on diplomatic invitations of dissidents to attend official receptions, in order to symbolically further their struggle against political repression.

Seventy-five persons were sentenced to six to 30 years in jail. Consequently, the EU Council froze its diplomatic ties with Cuba, halting all cooperation and development aid that existed before. In addition to clamping down on the US-financed dissent, Fidel Castro apparently felt that the previous economic opening was too much, too fast. Thus, he reversed the decision regarding the still small Cuban private sector (“cuentaspropistas”), and placed additional restrictions on Cuban economic liberties and foreign investments.

Yet, it is fair to recognize that some foreign investors might have tried to escape the Kafkaesque Cuban system by illegal means, leading to corruption cases. As a result, the number of joint-venture companies was halved between 2001 and 2007 and the government used the occasion to seize some valuable assets.

In 2004 Cuba released a number of dissidents and the EU revised its strategy to maintain more discrete contacts with local dissidents. After nearly two years of tensions passed, the EU chose not to invite opponents of the regime to official celebrations. Consequently, Cuba normalized its ties with a number of European countries, including France, Spain, and Germany.

It was not until 2006, when Fidel Castro handed his leadership of Cuba to his younger brother, Raul Castro, that this diplomatic conflict ended. However, it would take two more years for the EU to restart cooperation with Cuba after the release of the majority of the dissidents.

In 2008, Cuba was hit by three successive hurricanes, which caused significant damage in parts of the country, crippling its economy, and leading to a partial default vis-à-vis its main trading partners. Since then, the European Commission has committed nearly €60 million for post-hurricane reconstruction, food security, climate change policies, renewable energy, culture, and education in Cuba. The EU also allowed Cuba to take part in EU-funded regional programs.

This pursuit of a more comprehensive approach toward Cuba was strengthened by the position of Spain, which has advocated since 2010 for a revised CP. At the time, Trinidad Jimenez, Spain’s Secretary of State, declared the CP to be a “discriminatory, inefficient and illegitimate” policy.

Still, for a policy change to occur, the unanimous support of the 27 EU member states was necessary. While several countries were supportive of the Common Position, mostly because of their past suffering of Soviet authoritarianism, other EU countries had a more flexible idea of what should be the nature of EU-Cuba relationship.

On May 12, 2010, the first Country Strategy Paper was adopted on Cuba, including an additional fund of €20 million during the period 2011-2013 in order to pursue the EU’s ongoing cooperation, as well as an additional aid of €4 million in order to help the Cuban population affected by the Hurricane Sandy in November 2012.

After the sixth Cuban Communist Party (CCP) Congress in 2011 revealed its lineamientos (“guidelines”) to “actualize [the] Cuban economic model,” as well as introduced the first reforms started to be implemented sin prisas pero sin pausas (“slowly but surely”) by Raul Castro, the EU-Cuba relationship continued to improve.

Finally, during the first months of 2014, all the EU member states agreed to give a negotiation mandate to the EU’s foreign policy chief to discuss and renew EU-Cuba partnership. The CP and its flexibility led to a significant improvement of the EU-Cuba relationship by encouraging Cuban government policies to move towards more liberal economic and political practices.

The EU as Cuba’s second largest economic partner

The EU is an important economic partner of Cuba, filling the void US trade sanctions produced. Trade between the EU and Cuba is now dynamic, representing a positive balance for the European Union. Among the top 10 trading partners of Cuba, four countries are member states of the EU: Spain is third, Holland seventh, Italy ninth and France tenth.

In 2013, the European Union imported €837 million worth of goods from Cuba and exported €1,834 million to Cuba, representing a nearly €1 billion surplus That year, transactions with the European Union and the rest of the continent accounted for 28.3 percent of Cuba’s foreign trade. This statistic shows that 36.7 percent of Cuban exports go to the EU market and 25.9 percent of national imports come from that region.

The trade relationship between the EU and Cuba is concentrated in two kinds of goods: agricultural and industrial products. Agriculture represents 42.5 percent of EU imports from Cuba while Cuban imports from the EU are 84.7 percent industrial products. On one hand, the EU imports foodstuffs, beverages, and tobacco, including rum, cigars and sugar derivatives (40.8 percent) and mineral products such as nickel and scrap metal (33.6 percent). On the other hand, the EU exports to Cuba machinery and appliances (34.5 percent), and products of the chemical, plastics and allied industries (13.4 percent).

It is easy to see that the trade relationship between Cuba and the EU is unbalanced: Cuba exports mostly primary products (85 percent of their trade total), while the EU exports manufactured ones (around 81 percent of their total exports).

EU-Cuba trade recently suffered a setback with the exemption of Cuba on January 1, 2014 from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). The Cuban exclusion is due to the way Cuba changed its method to calculate its nominal GDP in the early 2000s in order to give it a statistical boost of 15 percent. Automatically, the country jumped to higher level in EU’s GSP ranking, making it a middle income nation.

Aware that this new methodology could present such a risk, Cuban authorities preferred to keep their obscure statistics and reduce its market in Europe, in order to appear among the “developed economies”. Thus, under the new rules, taxes on Cuban cigars jumped from 7.8 percent to 26.9 percent in 2014. Despite being considered a part of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) since 2010, Cuba does not benefit from the ACP-EU Sugar Protocol, and therefore loses an advantageous tariff for its sugar.

Other EU economic presence in Cuba

The EU presence in Cuba is not only a trade relationship. European companies are present in many areas of Cuba’s economy. For the last 20 years, the EU has been the second largest source of tourists to Cuba. Tourism brings the cash-starved Cuban economy $1 to 2 billion USD every year, and is its 3rd source of cash after medical services and remittances.

Therefore, it is no coincidence that the Cuban tourism industry is dominated by European operators from Spain, France, and Germany. But, since Obama’s easing measures in 2008, Cuban-Americans and authorized (or not) American visitors have also significantly increased.

Also, one would be surprised to see how many French Peugeots and Renaults are driven along with 1950s American Chevys and 1970s Soviet Ladas in Havana’s streets. Spanish Seats and Italian Fiats are not unknown either.

European exporters of food, machinery, industry, and chemicals also represent an alternative to cheap but unreliable Asian materials, antique Russian products and, of course, banned American goods.

To finance this trade, European banks are also vital to the Cuban economy. Indeed, it is clear that European companies benefit partly from the absence of American competitors in Cuba that were forced out by US sanctions.

• Clément Doleac is a research fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. This column was published with permission from Caribbean News Now. The second part will appear in Saturday’s Nassau Guardian.

March 06, 2015

thenassauguardian