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U.S. companies swarmed Cuba, uncertain if business profits

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November 9
1:48 AM 2015

The week long trade expo celebration in Havana, Cuba brought it some 50 American businesses, but most of these firms still have no idea how to earn money in the communist-ruled country with a population that has minimum purchasing power.

Detente promises restored commercial ties, which beckons US companies to the Cuba, according to Reuters. However, it is an unconventional market that has a dual-currency system, difficult labor market, and unclear legal guarantees. Some US companies are attracted to the fact that Cuba has not been doing much business with US firms for over fifty years. Some are confident enough to fill in gaps, while others say that other nations are taking advantage of this opportunity.

Alabama-based Cleber LLC got an approval from the Cuban government to manufacture tractors in the country, making it the first American factory there in over fifty years. One of the major reasons for the company's move to do business in the country is that its co-founder Saul Berenthal was born in Cuba and left the country in 1960 due to the revolution.

Voice of America reported that The Havana International Fair is one of the stranger events in the world of business, since it is held in a poor country that is embargoed by the US and has a very unstable market.

President Barack Obama met with Cuban President Raul Castro to restore diplomatic relations and end Cold War-era issues. However, embargo still continues since only the US Congress has the power to lift it.

Meanwhile, the USA Today reported, Cuban-American civil trial lawyer Ralph Patino said, "We're entering a very dark room and feeling out way through to get to the other side." He is a lawyer in Miami who attended the trade expo. Right after Obama restored diplomatic relations with Castro, he established a business that sells construction materials to entrepreneurs in Cuba.

Booths has been set up by some Americans to showcase their products and had private meetings with many Cuban ministries to seek approval for any trade deals.  The are making themselves familiar in a communist country where they have little knowledge. 

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