Yesterday, President Obama announced wide-ranging adjustments of US policy towards Cuba including opening an embassy in Havana. The Obama Plan involves a series of measures aimed at increasing trade between the two countries. The basic premise of the plan is to permit certain exports to Cuba, relax restrictions on financial transactions and repeal limits on remittances to the island. Secretary of State, John Kerry, will begin to implement the initiative. He is to “immediately initiate discussions with Cuba on the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba.”
In a ceremony attended by President Ollanta Humala and Governor Alejandro García Padilla, on June 11th, the governments of Peru and Puerto Rico signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at promoting their commercial and educational dealings. Among other things, the memorandum indicates that they intend to “strengthen and promote business development, knowledge transfer and cooperation in medical services, education and infrastructure.” Further, Puerto Rico is looking to Peru to help it to expand medical tourism, agricultural trade and cultural projects. As part of the memorandum they will create a working group that will look to follow up on the agreements.
The Cuban government recently issued rules and regulations for companies that will operate in the first free-trade manufacturing zone in Cuba. Located in the Port of Mariel, thirty miles west of Havana, the Mariel Special Development Zone will house manufacturing plants that assemble and make products for both domestic and international markets, as well as a megaport designed to eventually replace freight operations at the Port of Havana which cannot accommodate large ships. A highway and railroad infrastructure is also being built to provide access to the zone.
A recent decision of the United States District for the District of Puerto Rico examines the standard of review of an arbitration award. In Union de Periodistas de Artes Graficas y Ramas Anexas v. Telemundo de Puerto Rico, Inc.[i], Telemundo de Puerto Rico, Inc. (“Telemundo”), a Spanish language television network, centralized its Houston, San Antonio and Puerto Rico master control and editing work in Miami to take advantage of new technologies. The change made it possible for Telemundo’s Puerto Rico subsidiary to switch from a twenty-four hour manual operation to an automated system, such that personnel in Miami operate the automated system for the Puerto Rico Station, as well as the stations in San Antonio and Houston.
High energy costs has long been recognized as one of the biggest obstacles to doing business in Puerto Rico. The cost of energy on the island is almost twice as much as in the U.S. mainland. Mindful that Puerto Rico’s energy policy is a critical component of the island’s successful economic future, the government set in motion the certain steps to diversify power production by fostering renewable energy projects on the island. In July 2010, then governor Luis Fortuño signed into law the Act for a Public Policy for Energy Diversification Through Sustainable and Alternative Renewable Energy (the “Energy Diversification Act”) and the Green Energy Incentives Act (the “Incentives Act”) which firmed up Puerto Rico’s position regarding the need for clean renewable energy. The legislation set specific renewable energy production goals and established economic incentives to enable the island to meet those goals.