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  June 15th, 2017 | Written by

Industry Group Urges Trump to Continue Cuba Engagement

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  • Reports: Trump will rollback Obama efforts to normalize relations with Cuba.
  • AED: Continued engagement with Cuba is vital for US economic and national security interests.
  • AED led two business delegations to Cuba in 2016.

Amid reports that President Donald Trump will announce rollbacks as early as tomorrow to the Obama administration’s efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, the industry group Associated Equipment Distributors (AED), is advising the president that a policy that continues engagement with the island is vital for the United States’ economic and national security interests.

In a letter to the Trump administration, AED president and CEO Brian McGuire noted the opportunities for US companies in Cuba, which industry representatives observed first-hand during AED-led business delegations.

Cuba has substantial infrastructure needs ranging from roads, bridges, and highways to water systems and airports,” McGuire stated. “Such projects provide markets for goods supplied by US businesses, including construction equipment dealers and manufacturers.”

In 2016, the association led two business delegations to Cuba, allowing dozens of equipment industry leaders to personally familiarize themselves with US–Cuba relations. AED has also been actively engaging with lawmakers to lift the trade embargo against the island nation located 90 miles from US shores.

Even with the Obama administration’s steps toward normalizing relations with Cuba, US companies are forced to the sidelines, according to McGuire, as others actively trade with Cuba and countries like Russia and China fill the void left by the US absence. Rolling back the policies will only further close off business opportunities and drive a greater wedge between the US and Cuba, he said.

“Our country’s stance toward Cuba is an outdated relic of the Cold War that hasn’t worked,” McGuire told President Trump. “Maintaining a decades-long failed policy while sacrificing economic and national security interests is ill-advised. Continuing to normalize relations in Cuba is the only way to effectively bring about political change on the island while opening a new market for US goods, products, and ideas.”

McGuire concluded that continued engagement with Cuba is consistent with President Trump’s vision for a stronger America. “Preserving, not reversing, recent efforts to engage Cuba,” he wrote, “fits directly in line with your desire to put America first.”