Economic Development / Ocean

Forging New Ties

August 6, 2012
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
When the Ana Cecilia sailed to Havana from a river terminal in Miami, it marked an important moment in world trade.

The ship was not the first to sail from the U.S. to Cuba, nor was it the first time goods have flowed in this long-dormant trade lane. But, trade and diplomatic relations with Cuba are lightening rod issues for the large population of immigrants from Cuba who have settled in the Miami area; that may make this event more significant than vessels sailing from other U.S. ports to Havana.

The Obama Administration has taken slow, cautious steps towards Cuba in anticipation of a leadership change there, which could open the door to normalization of relations. Whether or not President Obama is reelected in November, the change may not occur under his tenure.

Public opinion, however, moves much faster than governments. This was apparent when reports began circulating that the U.S. Olympic Team would wear uniforms in the opening ceremonies that were made in China. The “buy American” sentiment was raised to a fever pitch as there were even calls from the floor of Congress to burn those uniforms and replace them with U.S-made goods, reminding us why it’s good that trade policy is made in the executive branch and not the legislature.

There was no similar outrage when the 2002 Olympic Games were held in Salt Lake City, Utah and a country recovering from the anguish of the terrorist attacks the previous September clamored for official Olympic gear with USA logos – provided by Canadian apparel company Roots.

The Roots supply chain and its response to the unexpected demand for the USA logo gear is a story in itself.

Trade issues tend to cut both ways, stretching Newton’s law that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Sometimes there is little reaction, and at other times, the reaction can be disproportionate.

After years battling in meeting rooms and even before the World Trade Organization, Mexico became frustrated with the U.S. for failing to live up to a provision of the North American Free Trade Agreement and continued to block Mexican truckers from operating beyond the U.S. border region. Mexico put in place a group of import tariffs on U.S. goods and left them in place until the U.S. took action on the trucking issue.

In trade, you must be careful about what message you send. China is a major source for U.S. consumer and other manufactured goods. It is increasingly becoming a destination for U.S. exports. If the message is, “We don’t like Chinese goods,” then what happens if China takes a “buy Chinese” position? Do U.S. autoworkers end up unemployed because exports stop?

As with the Ana Cecilia, sometimes a little slow steaming is a good idea to let emotions and reality reconcile.


Perry A. Trunick, Editor-in-Chief

Recent Articles by Perry Trunick

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Five Wearable Manufacturing Technologies of the Future

Video applications, Employee Monitoring, Field service, Plant monitoring, Improving employee safety


Assurance of Supply: A Top Concern for Manufacturers

Every manufacturer has an assurance of supply problem to some extent due to the complexity of global sourcing. For years, manufacturers were blessed with high margins but margins have grown paper thin. You can’t fill up your distribution centers with excess inventory – not only is there a cost factor but the pace of business and consumer buying trends causes goods to quickly turn obsolete. Assurance of supply provides the speed and agility that is essential to being able to compete in today’s market.


Speaker info: Diane Palmquist, VP Manufacturing Industry Solutions


More Podcasts

World Trade 100 Magazine

wt october 2014

2014 October

Check out the October 2014 edition of World Trade WT100, featuring our cover story: Logistics Drives Site Selection, plus much more!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Transportation Capacity

As peak season has gotten underway, what is your experience with transportation capacity?
View Results Poll Archive


World-Class Warehousing and Material Handling, 1st Edition

Filled with proven operational solutions, it will guide managers as they develop a warehouse master plan, one designed to minimize the effects of supply chain inefficiencies as it improves logistics accuracy and inventory management - and reduces overall warehousing expense.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


Use our interactive maps to locate service providers across North America.Interactive Map

Logistics Development Partners 

IWLA Members