Government Accountability Office report recommends continued analysis on Cuba

Written by Sarah Crozier

Camila Piñero, Center for Studies on the Cuban Economy, speaks with U.S. Co-op delegates during the 2016 Cooperative Forum in Cuba.Camila Piñero, Center for Studies on the Cuban Economy, speaks with U.S. Co-op delegates during the 2016 Cooperative Forum in Cuba.Camila Piñero, Center for Studies on the Cuban Economy, speaks with U.S. Co-op delegates during the 2016 Cooperative Forum in Cuba. Analyzing the impact of increased engagement between the U.S. and Cuba, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report last week confirming that increased engagement did in fact have an impact in Cuba, but more data is needed.

The GAO consulted with NCBA CLUSA for its expertise on the cooperative sector in Cuba during the writing of the report, including questions on the role of the U.S. – Cuba Cooperative Working Group.

The recommendations from the GAO report echo a memo released by NCBA CLUSA and the Cuba Study Group last week, urging continued analysis and reporting on Cuba before making any decisions about disengagement.

The GAO report examines what is known about the size and scope of the Cuban private sector, the effect of changes to U.S. legal and regulatory restrictions on the Cuban private sector and U.S. businesses, and the extent to which the U.S. government planned and implemented activities to increase U.S. engagement with the Cuban private sector and expand U.S. economic opportunities in Cuba.

Activities like the U.S. Cooperative leaders' delegation to Cuba in July 2016 encouraging private sector links and connections between the two countries contributed to increased engagement. The delegation visited as part of the work of the U.S. - Cuba Cooperative Working Group, lead by NCBA CLUSA.

Although the regulatory changes have created some new opportunities for U.S. businesses and the Cuban private sector, embargo restrictions and Cuban government barriers continue to limit U.S. – Cuba economic engagement, according the GAO report.

The GAO recommendation “that all relevant U.S. agencies have information on the effect of changes in U.S. policy related to Cuba, and should take steps to identify and begin to collect the information that would allow them to monitor changes in economic engagement, including with the Cuban private sector,” supports the recommendation NCBA CLUSA and the Cuba Study Group, along with 16 other organizations, made last week to the Trump Administration.

Read more about NCBA CLUSA and Cuba Study Group’s memo to the Trump Administration on Cuba.

Read the GAO Report: U.S. Policy Changes Increased Engagement with Private Sector, but Agency Information Collection Is Limited.