This piece was originally published in the September 2016 issue of electroindustry.
Jonathan Stewart, Government Relations Manager, NEMA
Andrew Northup, Director, Global Affairs, MITA
With policy changes thawing relations between Cuba and the United States, NEMA staff met with Cuban embassy officials and staff from the U.S. departments of Commerce and State in order to assess trade potential for NEMA/MITA members. Moving beyond initial discussions and research, Jonathan Stewart, government relations manager at NEMA, and Andrew Northup, director of global affairs at MITA, visited Cuba in early July for discussions with Cuban government officials in the commercial, utilities, and healthcare sectors. The staff also conducted an initial assessment of the Cuban market for NEMA/MITA scope products.
Cuba’s electrical grid serves 98 percent of the country and was built using U.S. standards. It is maintained with non-U.S. products that have been tailored to fit. The national focus now is on growing renewable generation, but at some point the country will need to address overall grid capacity. Energy efficiency is a major concern and opportunity, especially given that Cuba’s main source of fuel is Venezuela.
Healthcare is a high priority for the Cuban government, and hospitals have near-state-of-the-art medical and diagnostic imaging units. Currently, some types of units cannot be used to their full potential because service and spare parts are difficult to acquire. This may be somewhat related to a trade embargo. The DICOM standard for image and data transfer is in use, but only between hospitals. These challenges present some opportunities for MITA companies.
It is difficult to predict to what extent real and worthwhile opportunities will be available for NEMA/MITA members in the coming years, due to uncertainties related both to the regulatory outlook and market forces. But an underlying premise for our engagement thus far was confirmed through dialogue in Cuba: early arrivers to the market will be in the best position to take advantage of opportunities if and when they present themselves.Read the September 2016 issue of electroindustry.