Friday, May 22, 2015

Ex-Bush aide - Cuba could be another Singapore if …

Ex-Bush aide: Cuba could be another Singapore if …
Matthew J. Belvedere | @Matt_Belvedere

Cuba has the most potential of any country in the world to flourish
given the right vision, said Carlos Gutierrez, who was Commerce
secretary under George W. Bush.

"Cuba as a country with its location, with its resources could be the
Singapore of the [Western] hemisphere," Gutierrez told "Squawk Box" on
Friday. "It's a matter of what policy you have inside that allows the
economy to prosper."

Singapore was transformed in a generation from a sleepy port city into a
thriving global hub for international business and finance. Lee Kuan
Yew, founding father of the city-state and its first prime minister,
died in March at the age of 91. He was Singapore's leader from 1959 to 1990.

"Twenty years from now, Cuba will be a very different place," said
Gutierrez, who was born in Havana. "[But] the next two years, there will
be ups and downs."

U.S. and Cuban negotiators were working this week on the particulars of
re-establishing diplomatic ties between the two countries for the first
time in more than five decades.

In December, President Barack Obama outlined steps to restore relations
with Cuba that included measures to expand travel to the nation and
authorize sales and exports from the United States.

Gutierrez—who appeared on "Squawk Box" the day after the December
announcement—said Friday, "I never expected it to get this far."

But the chairman of global advisory firm Albright Stonebridge Group said
businesses should not expect to make a killing right away.

"The Cuban system is being overwhelmed with businesses who want to go
in, with businesses who want to try it out. Airbnb just went in," he
pointed out.

The high-profile online home-rental marketplace said in April that it
had started to offer properties in Cuba.

Gutierrez advised companies looking to do business in the country to be
patient. "They need to track it. They need to understand how business is
done on the ground."

Source: Ex-Bush aide: Cuba could be another Singapore if … -

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