Executive Summary

Since December 17th 2014, a steady stream of reports of progress in bilateral negotiations between the US and Cuba have given an impression that Cuba is, or soon will be, ‘open for business’. But while the change in bilateral relations certainly alters the prognosis for the coming years, the process of dismantling US economic sanctions and opening up the economy remains at an early stage, is likely to be a longer and complicated one. New opportunities have been created, and it is now highly probable that many of the remaining barriers to foreign business will be dismantled in the coming years. However, companies contemplating entry into the market need to be aware of the factors determining the likely pace and sequencing of the changes, and risks along the way. This paper provides an outline of changes in US sanctions so far, their impact on international business, and the next stages, then considers the trajectory of reform within Cuba and its implications for future opportunities. It concludes with a checklist of the emerging opportunities and risks.

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