Ten Ethics-Based Questions for U.S. Companies Seeking to do Business in Cuba
Marcia Narine, Ten Ethics-Based Questions for U.S. Companies Seeking to do Business in Cuba, CEJ, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Aug. 2015)
12 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2015
Date Written: August 29, 2015
On December 17, 2014, President Barack Obama began the process of thawing the ice-cold relationship with Cuba by allowing additional travel to the island and relaxing some of the rules on doing business there. Full diplomatic relations were restored in July 2015, and a bank in Florida announced shortly thereafter that it would conduct business with Cuban banks. Nonetheless, as of the time of this writing, the 56-year embargo is still in force largely because of Cuba’s human rights record and the nearly seven billion dollars worth of claims for confiscated property. Even so, US companies are rushing to the island to be the first to stake their claims when they are able to conduct business legally. After all, before the Communist revolution and the confiscation of property US persons and businesses owned or controlled 80% of the island’s resources. When the embargo is lifted, US companies will compete with the EU and Canadian companies that have been there for decades, but what ethical challenges will US companies face? Cuba is one of five remaining Communist countries in the world, and US companies already do business in three of the others — the People’s Republic of China. Laos, and the Socialist Republic of South Viet Nam. What makes Cuba different? How can and will companies reconcile a values-based code of ethics with the realities of the Cuban marketplace?
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