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US, Cuba trade embargo settlement to effect NZ-Cuba trade

US, Cuba trade embargo settlement to effect NZ-Cuba trade

WELLINGTON: After the US President Barack Obama has announced a move to normalise relations between the United States and Cuba, saying it is time to “cut loose the shackles of the past”. The end of the United States’ trade embargo with Cuba will have little effect on New Zealand, an international trade expert says.

Sarah Salmond, head of international trade at law firm Russell McVeagh, said the change was significant news internationally but would not mean a great deal for New Zealand, which already trades freely with Cuba.

“It may affect subsidiaries of US companies operating in New Zealand that want to trade with Cuba, but there aren’t a lot of them anyway.”

Salmond said New Zealand’s main export to Cuba was dairy, which would be largely unaffected by the end of the US trade restrictions with Cuba.

New Zealand’s main imports from Cuba are the famous Cuban cigars and Cuban rum. Several companies, such as Havana House, specialise in imported Cuban products.

Importers Institute secretary Daniel Silva said New Zealanders had always been able to import these products. New Zealanders are also free to travel to Cuba, where tourism is one of the major industries.