This article is about 4 Stops On The Road To Cuba. Thinking of doing business in Cuba? There are three key sources to make contacts and exchange information.
First is the law office of Lex S.A. This spinoff from the Cuban Chamber of Commerce is the Cuban Lawyer’s Office of Industrial Property. Many well-known brands have used the services of this office to make sure their trademarks are properly registered in Cuba.
They are members of the Interamerican Association of Industrial Property (ASIPI) and the International Association of Industrial Property (AIPPI). Their services include consultation, procedures, and researches, registers of changes of rights and renewals and lawyer’s service in cases of infringement. Lex S.A. is the largest provider of legal services in Cuba, and its US clients include Sprite and Kmart.
Next is Alamar Associates. This business was started in 1974. Since then, they have consulted with hundreds of US organizations, corporations, and media outlets wanting to do business with Cuba. When the US embargo was partially lifted to allow the sale of agricultural products to Cuba, several of Alamar’s clients either began negotiations or contracted to sell products to Cuba.
Alamar’s Kirby Jones has been described by Newsweek Tas having “better contacts in Cuba than any other America.” According to the New York Times he’s “the man to see about business in Cuba.”
Hundreds of American companies have participated in trips organized by Alamar, including Arthur Andersen, Bear Stearns, Cargill, and Eli Lilly & Company.
Next, visit some trade showx to begin making those all-important contacts. Marvin Lehrer, senior advisor for the US Rice Federation called expos “key” to brokering deals by making initial contacts and developing a familiarity with the Cuban market, saying, “If an American wants to sell to Cuba and thinks he has the right product, and then go to the trade show.”
There are several ways to locate trade shows. You can Google Cuba trade shows, or you can contact Alamar Assiciates, mentioned above – or contact another business consulting service. Not only do they sponsor several trade shows, they can assist you in getting the necessary permits to visit Cuba. (Due to the trade embargo, Americans are not permitted to visit Cuba, except for certain specific business purposes.
Doing business in Cuba is all about building relationships. And the final place to help build those relationships is the Cuban Chamber of Commerce. International entrepreneurs routinely gather there to meet-and-greet.
You can do online research, subscribe to periodicals, and attend seminars and classes to learn about business. But the best way to learn about Cuban business is to talk to other entrepreneurs who have the experience. And the four sources listed in this article can help you connect with those entrepreneurs and learn (almost) everything you need to know about doing business in Cuba.