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Automation Alley plans trade mission to Cuba

Automation Alley plans trade mission to Cuba
Michael Martinez, The Detroit News 11:49 p.m. EDT July 13, 2015

Troy-based business association Automation Alley on Monday said it’s
planning a trade mission to Cuba in October 2016, the first step in what
the group hopes to be a fruitful relationship with the country.

Noel Nevshehir, director of international business at Automation Alley,
said Monday the association will take a number of small- to mid-sized
businesses for a three- to four-day “exploratory” trip to Cuba.
Automation Alley has gone on 24 similar trade missions with 170 total
companies to Saudi Arabia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and other nations.

“Cuba today is like an attic that hasn’t been opened in 50 years,” he
said in an interview. “It’s a huge time warp. Despite the normalization
of relations, a lot of work still needs to be done, but the
opportunities far outweigh the challenges.”

The Obama administration in January significantly loosened restrictions
on American trade and investment to the island nation, and earlier this
month announced they would reopen embassies in their respective capitals.

Nevsheir said it’s unclear if any businesses will be able to strike
deals on this first foray into Cuba, but the opportunity is there,
especially for companies in the automotive, medical, agriculture and
education fields.

As part of their Cuba outreach, Automation Alley is hosting a seminar
Aug. 6 to discuss doing business in Cuba. Called “Cuba: The Next
Frontier,” it will include case studies from companies with operations
in Cuba on how to overcome the common hurdles associated with trading or
investing there.

The event will focus on how foreign companies can compete with Cuban
state-owned monopolies and the command structure of the country’s economy.

Speakers will include Alex Lee from the U.S. Department of State and
Dana McAllister, executive director of the Cuban-American Chamber of
Commerce.

The cost to attend is $20 for members with pre-registration or $30 at
the door. The cost for non-members is $40 with pre-registration or $50
at the door. Admission is free for foundation members, but
pre-registration is required.

Pre-registration closes Aug. 4. To register, visit automationalley.com.

Automation Alley’s membership includes more than 1,000 businesses,
educational institutions, government entities and nonprofit
organizations from Detroit and the surrounding eight-county region.

A 2014 economic impact report showed the association, since its
inception in 1999, has created and supported more than 4,500 tech and
manufacturing jobs, which have resulted in a $112.9 million follow-on
investment, or money other firms have invested after Automation Alley
invests.

mmartinez@detroitnews.com

Source: Automation Alley plans trade mission to Cuba –
http://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/2015/07/13/automation-ally-going-cuba/30104801/

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