AED Urges President Trump to Continue Cuba Engagement Policies

In 2016, AED led two business delegations to Cuba, allowing dozens of equipment industry leaders to personally familiarize themselves with U.S.-Cuba relations.

📅   Tue June 13, 2017 - National Edition



Major news organizations are reporting that President Trump will announce revisions to the Obama administration's efforts to normalize relations with Cuba. In a letter to the Trump administration (see letter below), AED's President and CEO, Brian P. McGuire, advised that a policy that continues engagement with the island is vital for the United States' economic and national security interests.

In 2016, the association led two business delegations to Cuba, allowing dozens of equipment industry leaders to personally familiarize themselves with U.S.–Cuba relations. AED also has been actively engaging with lawmakers to lift the trade embargo against the island nation located just 100 miles from the United States.

McGuire touted the opportunities for American companies in Cuba, which industry representatives observed first-hard during the AED-led business delegations.

“The island is awash with potential business opportunities for American companies,” McGuire said. “Cuba has substantial infrastructure needs ranging from roads, bridges and highways to water systems and airports. Such projects provide markets for goods supplied by U.S. businesses, including construction equipment dealers and manufacturers.”

Unfortunately, even with the Obama administration's steps toward normalizing relations with Cuba, U.S. companies are forced to the sidelines as our allies actively trade with Cuba while countries such as Russia and China fill the void left by the United States' absence. Rolling back the policies will only further close off business opportunities and drive a greater wedge between the United States and Cuba.

“Our country's stance toward Cuba is an outdated relic of the Cold War that hasn't worked,” McGuire told Trump. “Maintaining a decades-long failed policy while sacrificing economic and national security interests is ill-advised. Continuing to normalize relations in Cuba is the only way to effectively bring about political change on the island while opening a new market for U.S. goods, products and ideas.” 

McGuire concluded that continued engagement with Cuba is consistent with President Trump's vision for a stronger America.

“Preserving, not reversing, recent efforts to engage Cuba fits directly in line with your desire to put 'America first.'”

For more information, visit www.aednet.org.

Letter to President Trump

Dear Mr. President:

I'm writing on behalf of Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) to urge you to strongly reconsider reversing policies that restored diplomatic, financial and economic relations with Cuba.

AED is the international trade association representing companies involved in the sale, rental, servicing, and manufacturing of construction, mining, farm, energy, forestry and industrial equipment. Our more than 500 distributor member companies have over 3,000 locations throughout North America, employing 40,000 people and accounting for $15 billion in annual sales of construction equipment and related supplies.

In 2016, the association led two business delegations to Cuba, allowing dozens of equipment industry leaders to personally familiarize themselves with U.S.–Cuba relations and learn about business opportunities on the island nation, should the U.S. government lift the trade embargo. Our trips included meetings with government officials and academics, and interactions with everyday Cubans, both in Havana and outside the capital city.

All trip participants were impressed by the intelligence, work ethic and hospitality of the Cuban people. Most Cubans were optimistic about recent changes made by their government, including a major shift toward a mixed economy, establishment of private markets (real estate and vehicles), greater opportunity for foreign investments and loosening restrictions on the ability of Cubans to travel, worship and speak freely. However, the greatest mark was left by the genuine fondness Cuban citizens have for Americans and the entrepreneurial spirit that is the backbone of the United States economic system.

The island is also awash with potential business opportunities for American companies. Cuba has substantial infrastructure needs ranging from roads, bridges and highways to water systems and airports. Such projects provide markets for goods supplied by U.S. businesses, including construction equipment dealers and manufacturers. Currently, a major port at Mariel is being developed without U.S. involvement and Russia is modernizing the Cuban rail system. As U.S. companies sit on the sidelines, our allies actively trade with Cuba while countries such as Russia and China fill the void left by the United States' absence.

Our country's stance toward Cuba is an outdated relic of the Cold War that hasn't worked. Maintaining a decades-long failed policy while sacrificing economic and national security interests is ill-advised. Continuing to normalize relations in Cuba is the only way to effectively bring about political change on the island while opening a new market for U.S. goods, products and ideas. Preserving, not reversing, recent efforts to engage Cuba fit directly in line with your desire to put “America first.”

Thank you for your time and consideration. Respectfully yours,

Brian P. McGuire President & CEO

Associated Equipment Distributors Washington Office

1201 15th Street, NW

Suite 220

Washington, DC 20005