Recent progress on bilateral relations between the United States and Cuba now allow Cuban entrepreneurs to legally export goods to the United States for the first time since the 1960s. Although this will inevitably have a big impact on global shipping, there are still numerous barriers, and an official embargo remains in place.

“The United States is a natural market for the island,” Ric Herrero, executive director of #CubaNow told USA Today. “The opportunities for those that produce goods and services that could be exported to the U.S. are huge.”

However, the newly introduced regulations are restricted to private business and entrepreneurs, which are few and far between on the Communist island. Many of Cuba’s largest exports, such as its famed rum, cigars, and vintage vehicles are state-run industries, and their export to the United States will continue to be banned.

Other prohibited goods in the United States include:

  • Livestock
  • Food products
  • Ammunition
  • Metals
  • Minerals

New rules, limited possibilities

While the embargo remains in place, the U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security does offer exceptions on certain transactions and a number of American companies are making significant headway exporting to Cuba — including Netflix, Twitter, JetBlue, American Express, and MasterCard. To find out more on the most recent rules for exportation from the U.S. to Cuba, see

On the other side, opportunities for Cubans to enter industries that would allow them to create exportable goods to the United States are still limited.

President Raul Castro has implemented some economic opportunities independent of the state-run economy, but most are service industry-oriented, such as barbers, restaurant owners and mechanics. While entrepreneurial Cubans have opportunities to make profits for themselves in these fields, they’re not creating goods that can take advantage of the newly reduced barriers with the United States.

Philip Peters, president of the Virginia-based Cuba Research Center recently told the New York Times that the recent developments are simply a first step, and the current momentum will continue to open new opportunities. He added that even though the move is still receiving political scrutiny in the United States, it’s doubtful that it will ever be reversed.

For more information on restrictions on trade and travel to Cuba, go to: