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Norbert Sparrow

March 25, 2016

2 Min Read
SPI’s Carteaux goes to Cuba

While President Obama’s visit to Cuba captured all the media attention this week, the island had another visitor of particular import to the plastics industry: Bill Carteaux, President of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association (Washington, DC).

“My history-making trip to Cuba has begun. Boarding my flight to Havana in Miami,” tweeted Carteaux on March 20. His plan to live tweet his journey, using the #spiincuba and #cubavisit hashtags was thwarted by spotty WiFi, but Carteaux was able to tweet an image from the baseball game pitting Cuba’s national team against the Tampa Bay Rays, which the Rays won 4 to 1.

In a recent article, Forbes listed five industries set to benefit from the U.S.-Cuba thaw—tourism, aviation, hotels, agriculture and automobiles—and while plastics did not make the list, it’s clear that the plastics industry may reap some rewards from infrastructure improvements and increased tourism. There may even be opportunities for plastics processors and machinery makers, as the Cuban economy enters a new era, although that is very much on the speculative side.

Cuba's economy in 2013 was $77.15 billion, with a total population of around 11.3 million, making an average of $25 a month, notes Fortune in an article titled, "What Obama's historic visit to Cuba really means for U.S. business." And, while there has been a thaw in this relic of the Cold War and diplomatic relations have been restored, the half-century old embargo is still in place, and it is unlikely that Congress will do anything to change that until Obama leaves office, at the earliest.

Carteaux has not yet offered any comments on the opportunities that he sees, but I’m sure we will hear from him soon. When we do, you will be the first to know.

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.


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