New trade opportunities with Cuba still have legal hurdles to overcome


Tampa’s Chamber of Commerce recently returned from a trip to Cuba to learn and observe about new business opportunities between Tampa and Cuba.

Attorney Lauren Valiente with the law firm of Foley and Lardner went on the trip.

“It was a great experience. The Cuban people are extremely welcoming,” said Valiente.

Her practice focuses on international law. Valiente believes there are new business opportunities opening up between Tampa and Cuba, but she says people need to be aware of the law in both countries.

“The first question is; am I legally allowed to do what I want to do under both US law and Cuban law,” said Valiente.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is one law that Valiente believes American business owners need to be aware of before they try to venture in Tampa.

” It’s the US law that criminalizes bribing foreign government officials.”

“It applies to giving anything of value to a for a business advantage. So, if you are paying for expensive travel, if you are paying for expensive gifts, if you are paying for expensive dinners, even that can fall under the law,” said Valiente.

Even with current restrictions Valiente says she came away from her trip with the feeling that people in Cuba are willing to engage and work with business owners here.

Copyright WFLA 2015.  All rights reserved.

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