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US requests Cuba to open its markets

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Cuban leader Raul Castro meets with U.S. President Barack Obama (R) on the sidelines of the 7th Summit of the Americas in Panama City, capital of Panama, on April 11, 2015. U.S. and Cuban leaders held first face-to-face talks in over half a century on Saturday in Panama City, amid detente between the two nations.

Cuban leader Raul Castro meets with U.S. President Barack Obama (R) on the sidelines of the 7th Summit of the Americas in Panama City, capital of Panama, on April 11, 2015. U.S. and Cuban leaders held first face-to-face talks in over half a century on Saturday in Panama City, amid detente between the two nations.
Cuban leader Raul Castro meets with U.S. President Barack Obama (R) on the sidelines of the 7th Summit of the Americas in Panama City, capital of Panama, on April 11, 2015. U.S. and Cuban leaders held first face-to-face talks in over half a century on Saturday in Panama City, amid detente between the two nations.

The US Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan Selig has invited Cuba to open its market and make reforms as part of the process of normalisation with the US at the inauguration of a conference on the island’s economic future.

Selig said if Cuba opens its economy and begins the necessary reforms it will be able to get to the level of other Latin American nations like Chile, Colombia and Peru, who are experiencing economic growth and modernisation.

The official on Tuesday opened the conference on the Cuban economy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, which raised great anticipation and was attended by economists from Cuba, something that has been quite rare.

The participants analysed the possible evolution of Cuba’s economy as the process of reestablishing relations with the US moves forward, a process announced on December 17, by US President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro.

Selig said he was sure that after the announcement and the first steps to reopen embassies in the two countries, along with the easing of sanctions and some obstacles to trade with the island “enthusiasm will not be lost” and the rhythm of change will continue.

The undersecretary said normalisation of relations with Havana inevitably will mean “restarting the clock on the Cuban economy”.