12/17/2014 04:26 EST | Updated 02/16/2015 05:59 EST

Warmer U.S.-Cuba Relations An Opportunity And A Threat To Canadian Interests


OTTAWA - Experts believe closer ties between the United States and Cuba will eventually make economic waves for Canadian business.

But as the U.S. moves to rebuild broken diplomatic relations with Cuba, it remains unclear how Canadian companies stand to benefit — or lose out — from a cozier U.S.-Cuba bond.

Canada did nearly $1 billion worth of trade with Cuba last year — including more than $465 million worth of exports to the Caribbean nation.

Carleton University economics professor Arch Ritter says if the U.S. embargo is eventually lifted, Canadian exporters and investors would benefit from a stronger Cuban economy.

But on the flip side, Ritter says opening up Cuba to competition from U.S. firms would threaten to squeeze out Canadian companies, particularly in some export sectors.

Former diplomat John Graham says Canadian businesses have enjoyed a head start in Cuba, but he believes the island nation will become a much more attractive to outside investors.

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