Pressure by Cuba will not pay off

conor-luddy-239698 (2)

This past week, United States relations with Cuba were back in the spotlight. The Trump administration announced new restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba. The rollback of Obama’s measures towards the island’s government is a promise President Trump had made some months ago. The steps are reasonable, since  Obama’s agreement with Cuba was insufficient  and inequitable. The U.S. gave much and received little in return.

It has been more than a year since the normalization of relations. Clearly, Cuba has been unwilling to change rapidly, and past treaties were insufficiently in achieving a new robust track. One example is the continued discriminatory practices against Americans in the island. On a recently booked trip I had to Cuba, for example, it turned out that hotel rates were unjustifiably much higher for Americans than for Europeans, so I cancelled my plans.

The intention of the hotel was to give a silent retaliation for the years of economic embargo. The focus was on individuals that had no say on the matter and also no ability to change or improve American relations with Havana.

In fact, with the new tight restrictions, American individuals can no longer visit Cuba and groups need a license from the Treasury Department to visit the country. The Cuban tourism industry will feel the effects of U.S. government encouragement of Americans to stay in private houses and avoid hotels and restaurants connected to or owned by the military and security services.

After decades of adverse relationships, isn’t it time to bury the hatchet and bring out the peace pipe. For that, Cuba needs to take a step back and accept new policies which are fair, non-discriminatory and welcoming to visitors, both American and Cuban alike. As a fair trade and commerce relationship is not yet a reality, the United States government needed to demonstrate a stronger position in order to encourage appropriateness.

In addition, it is important to note that seeking improved relations with Havana does not mean forgetting the violations against human and civil rights during the Castro government. The population’s welfare is equally relevant as economic aspects in diplomatic relations, and actions such as expropriations and unjustified prison sentences should still be remembered and repaired. Curative marketing evaluates, carries physical accosting, debt, and destruction until true restitution is made.

Much remains to be done by Cuba, particularly since the United States has already long ago initiated important steps to reflect its own atonement. Cuban pressure to repay for earlier inequities will not work. Only if both parties commit to a fair relationship, will we see commerce between the countries grow and bring benefits and economic growth.

Young Tigers Speak Out on Trade

This Fall, I am teaching a Georgetown University Seminar on International Trade – The Insiders, populated by our First Year Students. The insiders we talk with and about are politicians, Policy Analysts, lobbyists, Ambassadors, former cabinet members, and many other highly interesting people who have a lot to share with the students.

_DSC1510 (1)

During the lectures, we always try to expand our understanding, knowledge and dialogue about key trade issues. Recently, we discussed the “Blood Diamonds”, which are said to make life difficult as well as bring pleasure to those who own it. However, they should be rejected by recipients, since the money obtained from diamond trade may be used for revolutions, exploitations, and other types of harm to mankind.

Since money is fungible, it occurs to me that it is only a matter of time for us to find other goods to be “facilitators of evil”. Of course, the main question is: what products or services will be the Next Nefarious “Blood Products” around the world?

Here are the top 16 issues which, after substantial thought and discussion, emerged from the minds of the young tigers who are participating on the seminar:

  • Gasoline: Oil wars continue to increase;
  • Palm oil: Palm trees are being cut down at an alarming rate, causing negative effects on the environment;
  • Actions and transactions over the internet: Blockchain technology may mislead;
  • Computer parts: Scattered rebel groups will use technology in their favor;
  • Advanced technology use: Putting in danger human rights and leveraging child labor;
  • Coffee: Coffee makers exploit land, labor, and economic systems;
  • Smartphones: We are more and more dependent on technology;
  • Pharmacology: Aggregated demand will increase market share and profit margins unacceptably;
  • Dairy: Veganism has already grown by 500% in the U.S.;
  • FIFA World Cup: Migrant workers with long shifts may lead to dissatisfied processes;
  • Robots/Artificial Intelligence: They will eventually do everything better than humans;
  • Cryptocurrencies vs current currencies: Easier for criminals and terrorists to conduct exchanges;
  • Oil: Impending energy shortage by 2030 will lead to the usage of oil as a new form of currency;
  • Biofuels (fuel-producing algae): Fossil fuels are highly valuable but their reserves are in decline;
  • Antiquities and artifacts: Terrorist groups like the Islamic State begin to claim physical property and presence for themselves;
  • Endangered species: Harming the natural world and exploiting species.

I always say that is wise to listen to these young minds, they will be in command soon. And according to them, these are the issues of the day. Remember, forewarned is forearmed.

Martha Lawless speaks to students at the First Year Seminar

It is a pleasure to have Ms. Martha Lawless, chief of the Services Industry Research Division of the U.S. International Trade Commission, as guest at our Seminar!

Webp.net-resizeimage

What a great opportunity for the students to learn about her work directing the USITC’s project on Global Digital Trade for the U.S. Trade Representative. She is a regular contributor to USITC’s research, focused on reporting the effects of new technology on the services and manufacturing sectors, the impact of policy barriers to trade in services, and the influence of corporate finance and other competitiveness factors on international trade.

Ms. Lawless was the project leader and primary author for the USITC’s two previous reports on digital trade, delivered to the Senate Finance Committee in 2013 and 2014.

Prior to joining the USITC, she was the director of the Corporate Risk Advisory Group at UBS Investment Bank in London, advising over 200 multinational companies on currency, interest-rate and commodity risk management, and Lecturer in Economics at Sussex Downs College.

Ms. Lawless received an A.B. in History and Economics magna cum laude from Harvard University, M.B.A. in International Finance from Yale University, and M.Sc. in Economics from Trinity College Dublin.

To know more about the First Year Seminar previous guests, please click here.

Georgetown First Year Seminar Guest Speaker

We were visited by Mr. Barry Rhoads, Chairman of Cassidy and Associates. He presented his insights on the role of private sector influence on government, establishing and disrupting relationships and the achievement of thought for legislation.

20171025_155027

WechatIMG168

Mr. Rhoads arrived in Washington as an officer in the U.S. Army, became a tax prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice. He is now the head of one of the largest lobbying firms in Washington D.C where he represents interests both foreign and domestic, such as Airbus Industries.

Georgetown First Year Seminar

I am delighted to have Ing. Jaroslava Pokorna Jermanová, who is the governor of the Central Bohemia Region of Czech Republic to our seminar. It’s such an honor to listen to her insights and the students all learned a lot from yesterday’s session.

WechatIMG143unnamed WechatIMG142Brief Work profile:

      • November 2016 elected by the governor of the Central Bohemia Region from October 2016 the representative of the Central Bohemia Region for the YO 2011 movement
      • 2014 until now the representative of Benešov and from 2016 the city councilor
      • November 2013 until now the deputy chairman of the Chamber of Deputies
      • October 2013 until now Member of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
      • 2007-2008 employee of ROP Central Bohemia
      • 2004-2008 representative of the Central Bohemian Region for ODS
      • 2002-2006 Mayor Krhanic in Benesov

Over the years, she has been employed by several private companies including a family enterprise to produce furniture, and before 2014 she was an advertising and marketing executive. She also founded the Women’s Academy, which aims to attract more women into politics.