On January 5th, ASP Board Member Scott Gilbert signed the first business deal to export Cuban goods to the US in nearly 60 years.
The agreement will bring 40 tons of artisanal marabu charcoal made by farmer cooperatives in Cuba to the United States on January 18th, 2017. Marabu charcoal is known as a long and clean burning source for pizzas and breads, and is produced by burning the highly invasive marabu plant.
In an interview with NPR’s “The World,” Gilbert discussed why this should be the first of many formal economic ties between the US and Cuba.
“There are so many win-win opportunities with Cuba if we can work together…The trade restrictions that we have with Cuba at this time are more severe than we have with any other country in the world. It is way past time to remove this last relic of the Cold War.”
When asked about the future of US-Cuba relations under the new administration, Gilbert remains hopeful.
“I’m not a pessimist when it comes to the new administration and its relations with Cuba…Everything I’ve heard this president-elect say about his views on economics and trade and doing deals is consistent with my views in terms of what needs to be done here, so we look forward to working with the new administration to try to help in that regard.”
You can hear Scott’s full interview here.
Gilbert represented jailed American contractor Alan Gross and was key in securing his release from Cuban prison in December 2014. Gross’ press conference immediately upon his return to the US was held at ASP’s offices.