The last two years have marked the most dramatic shift in U.S.-Cuban bilateral relations in 55 years. Today, the two countries are poised to adapt to new dynamics, with a potential pivot under the new administration.
On Thursday, March 23, the U.S.-Cuba Cooperative Working Group will launch its 2017 report highlighting the co-op sector in Cuba, including current challenges and opportunities, and how U.S. cooperatives can engage with their Cuban counterparts through trade and technical exchanges. Launched in 2014, the working group is a platform for cooperative businesses and organizations in Cuba and the U.S. to engage in mutually beneficial exchanges and activities that support cooperative growth.
Thursday's launch will begin with a roundtable panel of Cuban and American experts, including the president of the first non-agricultural cooperative in Cuba and a representative from the firm that brokered the first export deal to the U.S.
Despite several barriers, the cooperative business model in Cuba—both in agriculture and non-agricultural sectors—has achieved measurable successes. This year, for the first time, a Cuban cooperative exported products to the U.S., opening up channels for similar trade and export deals.
Key discussion topics for Thursday's panel include:
• What role are cooperatives currently playing in Cuba, and what is their current status?
• What are the key barriers to and opportunities for cooperative (and private sector) growth?
• How can U.S. cooperatives businesses working in agriculture, finance, health, energy, retail food and other economic sectors engage with Cuban cooperatives?
• How do Congress and the Administration view these opportunities and what is on their agenda?
Please join us for this interactive roundtable to discuss the report's key findings, prospects for continued U.S.-Cuba engagement on trade and other areas of cooperation, as well as an account of how a U.S. firm brokered the recent cooperative export deal and what that could mean for future deals.
Moderated by Alan Knapp, Vice President of Advocacy for NCBA CLUSA, panelists include Luis Dueñas Casal, president of SCENIUS; Amy Coughenour Betancourt, COO of NCBA CLUSA and founder of the U.S.-Cuba Cooperative Working Group; Andrew Fishbein, Policy and Advocacy Director for the Center for Democracy in the Americas; Michael Hatley, Associate for Reneo Consulting, LLC; and a representative from the Cuban Embassy (invited).
The Cuba Roundtable Panel is scheduled for 3:30 – 5 p.m., immediately followed by a reception.