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Cuban Rum Still On Sidelines Despite Diplomatic Deal

December 18, 2014

While the U.S. and Cuba have agreed to restore full diplomatic relations for the first time in more than 50 years, there’s no sign that Cuban rum will enter the U.S. market any time soon—at least not in large quantities. Under the new regulations, American travelers will be allowed to import up to $400 worth of goods from Cuba, including up to $100 in tobacco and alcohol products.

Havana Club, which Pernod Ricard markets around the globe, is one of the top-selling rum brands in Cuba, and also one of the biggest premium rum brands worldwide with annual global sales of around 4 million cases, according to Impact Databank. In the U.S., Bacardi owns the Havana Club trademark, and it has sold a Puerto Rico-produced Havana Club line in the U.S. in limited quantities for nearly a decade. The decades-old embargo on Cuban goods remains in place for now, although President Barack Obama yesterday called for Congress to have an “honest and serious debate about lifting” it.

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