2015 U.S.- Cuba Legal Summit
December 1, 2015
8:30 am - 9:30 amRegistration and Continental Breakfast
9:30 am - 9:45 amWelcome and Opening Remarks
Peter Kahn, Partner, Williams & Connolly LLP
9:45 am - 10:45 amTropical Skies and Icebergs: Challenges in the Breakthrough in Diplomatic Relations between the US and Cuba
Moderator: Peter Kahn, Partner, Williams & Connolly LLP
Arturo Lopez Levy, Professor, American Politics, Latin American Politics and Markets, University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley
Osvaldo Miranda, 2016 LLM Candidate (Duke University School of Law), Licensed Attorney (Cuba)
John Kavulich, President, U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, Inc.

To the surprise of many, 2015 brought the dissolution of more than fifty years of commercial and cultural barriers between the US and Cuba.  Many corporate and industry leaders are now eagerly exploring business opportunities in Cuba—but those business opportunities are accompanied by legal complexities and challenges.  Today’s first session will map the new landscape, to set the foundation for today’s discussions in navigating this uncertain terrain.  

10:45 am - 11:00 amRefreshment Break
11:00 am - 12:00 pmAre Cuban Cigars Still Contraband? US-Cuban Import-Export Controls Update
Lisa Prager, Partner, Schulte Roth & Zabel
Sidney Simon, Special Agent in Charge, Office of Export Enforcement, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), U.S. Department of Commerce
Joshua Holzer, Chief Counsel for Global Trade, Pfizer Inc
Melissa Goldstein, Attorney, Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP

In the past year, the Commerce and Treasury Departments have taken several steps in support of President Obama’s Cuba policy. Come prepared with your questions as this session will bring newly published rules to life in a full room discussion of:

  • The amendment of terms of existing license exceptions by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)  
  • New rules aside - does the US still have an embargo with Cuba?
  • How has the market opened up and where do restrictions remain?
  • What future developments are expected?


12:00 pm - 1:30 pmNetworking Lunch
1:30 pm - 2:30 pmUnderstanding the Restrictions Around the Establishment of Business Operations in Cuba
Patricia Menéndez-Cambó, Vice President and Secretary, Greenberg Traurig
Yosbel Ibarra, Shareholder; Co-Chair, Latin American and Iberian Practice, Greenberg Traurig
Kara Bombach, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig
Alana Tummino, Director of Policy, AS/COA, and Senior Editor, Americas Quarterly, Americas Society and Council of the Americas (AS/COA)

At first glance, the potential business opportunities seem limitless: Cuba is already a popular Caribbean destination for travelers from Canada and the European Union, and if travel restrictions are further lifted, U.S. tourists are certain to be drawn to Cuba’s beaches and rich culture.  Many types of businesses are starting to envision how they might expand into Cuba in hope of attracting both tourists and Cuban consumers alike.  As the easing of the economic sanctions on Cuba is still limited and very new, uncertainty about business opportunities remain under the current U.S. trade restrictions and the laws of Cuba.  As a communist state, the Cuban economy is effectively entirely run by the government and not by private individuals or entities. Furthermore, even activities that might be permissible or specifically authorized from the U.S. perspective will likely face hurdles on market entry on the Cuban side, such as operating permits, business licenses, and import regulations.  Join this session to take a look into how businesses can begin to assess the operations needs of entry into the Cuban market.

  • How might Cuba's evolving economic system pose challenges to US and multinational businesses as they enter the Cuban market and maintain their operations on the island?
  • How do Cuba’s recent reforms impact U.S. and multinational companies looking to set up shop in Cuba?
  • What additional steps would Cuba have to take, from a legal perspective, to establish a functioning economy and open the door to more foreign investment?

2:30 pm - 2:45 pmRefreshment Break

2:45 pm - 3:45 pmOvercoming the Past - What Can Companies Realistically Expect in 2015 Versus 1959?
Michael Zytnick, Group Legal,Group Dispute Resolution, Legal Financial Security (US), BNP Paribas
Christine Arrata, Head of Economic Sanctions Compliance, The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation
Tyler Hand, Vice President, Head of Global Sanctions and Interdiction, Western Union

Please note:  This session is CLOSED TO PRESS

The 2015 amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations are intended to chart a new course in U.S. relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people.  This session will take a comparative look at the operation and framework of U.S. sanctions against Cuba “before” and “after” the 2015 amendments to help audience members grasp what to expect in the following areas:
  • Financial transactions, including those related to the: (i) provision of goods and services to Cuban nationals located outside of Cuba, (ii) unblocking of certain previously blocked property, (iii) making donative remittances to Cuban nationals, and (iv) opening of bank accounts in Cuba;
  • Travel and the provision of travel services involving Cuba;
  • Obtaining legal advice and counseling on the requirements of Cuban law;
  • Conducting activity related to the official missions of the Government of Cuba to the United States.  

3:45 pm - 4:45 pmThe Future: Strategies to Boost Bilateral Exchanges
Moderator: Peter Kahn, Partner, Williams & Connolly LLP
Tyler Hand, Vice President, Head of Global Sanctions and Interdiction, Western Union
John Kavulich, President, U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, Inc.
Arturo Lopez Levy, Professor, American Politics, Latin American Politics and Markets, University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley

We've discussed obstacles.  We've discussed opportunities.  Now, let's talk about... hope.

The day of sessions will conclude with this forward-facing discussion examining how we, as a community of business and legal leaders enthused about the expansion of US-Cuban ties, can play a role in this historical step towards a more connected and mutually prosperous world.

4:45 pm - 6:00 pmCocktail Reception