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Cuba

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Cuba country brief

Australia and Cuba have long enjoyed friendly relations based on multilateral cooperation.

Key engagement

Cooperation in multilateral fora.

Outlook

Opportunities exist for Australian companies in Cuba’s resources, skills, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, tourism and agricultural sectors.

Bilateral relations

Australia and Cuba formally established diplomatic relations in 1989.

Australia’s Ambassador in Mexico City holds non-resident accreditation to Cuba.

Cuba opened an embassy in Canberra in October 2008 and the relationship has enjoyed renewed momentum in recent years. Australia and Cuba previously worked together to support the integration of Cuban-trained doctors into Pacific Island health systems

Foreign relations

The United States maintains a trade embargo against Cuba. While Australia does not have any trade or economic legislation or measure which restricts or discourages trade or investment to or from Cuba, the embargo remains an impediment to bilateral trade.

Since 1996, Australia has voted in favour of Cuba's annual resolution in the United Nations General Assembly calling for an end to the US trade embargo of Cuba.

Australia's foreign policy is guided by the Foreign Policy White Paper.

Fast Facts

High level engagement

  • 2018 – Cuban First Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marcelino Medina González, visited Australia.
  • 2017 – Visit to Cuba by Former Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop.

Agreements with Cuba

  • June 2017 — MoU on regular diplomatic consultations.
  • Feb 2016 — MoU on sports cooperation
  • Nov 2009 — MoU to enhance bilateral diplomatic engagement
  • Jan 1995 — Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Sports
  • Sept 1991 — MoU on migration related issues

Australian Embassy in Mexico

Ruben Dario 55
Col. Polanco
Mexico City 11580
Tel: 52-55-11012200
General: australianembassy.mexico@dfat.gov.au
Facebook: Australia en México, Centroamérica, Cuba y República Dominicana
Twitter: @AusEmbMex

Public diplomacy

In 2017-2018, the Australian Government provided nearly A$40,000 in assistance through the Embassy’s Direct Aid Program (DAP) following Hurricane Irma and also provided A$19,127 in DAP funds for a water treatment and sanitation project in the community of La Fe.

In 2018, the Council on Australia-Latin America Relations (COALAR) provided grants to Somos21 Limited and the Australian Baseball Association to connect and collaborate with people and institutions in Cuba.

Economic diplomacy

The Australian Government supports Australian investors in Cuba by providing support and advice on political, economic and regulatory environments through the Australian Embassy in Mexico City.

Economic and trade information can be found in our Economic Factsheet for Cuba.

Business

Export and investment opportunities exist for Australian businesses, particularly in energy and resources, pharmaceuticals and agriculture.
There is growing interest among Australian companies in the Cuban market. A number of companies have identified opportunities in areas of Australian expertise that coincide with Cuban priorities. These include agribusiness, mining and energy, biotechnology, infrastructure and tourism.

The 2015 creation of the Australia-Cuba Business Council and the February 2016 business delegation visit, led by Special Envoy Andrew Robb, is indicative of the new opportunities and profile that Cuba represents to Australian business.

In 2017-2018, Cuba sent three business delegations to Australia to investigate potential areas for collaboration. As a result, Meat and Livestock Australia agreed to trial a cattle tick vaccine produced by Cuban SOE, BioCubaFarma.

Austrade’s Mexico City Office provides support to Australian companies in Cuba.

Austrade

Sanctions

Australia supports legitimate trade and business activities where those activities do not breach Australian sanctions or laws.

Australia implements UNSC sanctions regimes and Australian autonomous sanctions regimes under Australian sanction laws. Different sanctions regimes impose different sanctions measures. Further information can be found on Australia and sanctions.

We recommend that you check the DFAT Consolidated List of designated individuals and entities with whom it is prohibited to transact without authorisation (a sanctions permit), to ensure that transactions do not involve any other persons or entities that may be subject to targeted financial sanctions under Australian law.

We encourage businesses operating in Australia to obtain independent legal and financial advice regarding compliance with Australian sanction regimes and those of other countries, and to discuss these matters with their financial institutions.

Comprehensive due diligence remains crucial for any Australian company seeking to do business overseas. We encourage Australian businesses to examine and take legal advice on implications of US sanctions. The US Office of Foreign Assets Control is responsible for administering United States sanctions, including by the issuance of Interpretative Guidance notes on request. It is the authoritative source of advice for businesses impacted by US sanction regimes.

Travel

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