Damages to the Cuban foreign trade sector incurred from April 2013 through June 2014 due to the economic, commercial and financial blockade are estimated at about four billion dollars, Pedro Luis Padron, director of U.S. Commercial Policy at the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment (MINCEX), told reporters.

The losses are mainly due to lost income from the export of goods and services, as well as the increased expense in commercial operations due to the so-called "country risk", that Cuba represents thanks to the constant threat of sanctions against those who trade with and invest in Cuba.

Another aspect that influences the losses are the additional costs to freight and insurance due to the banning of any ships which arrive to Cuba from then docking in U.S. ports; forcing operations to take place at ports in third countries, a more expensive import / export process.

From the point of view of investment, the blockade also hinders access to technologies and impedes financial transactions. During the past year, 27 foreign banks have closed the accounts of Cuban banking institutions or cancelled RMAs (Relationship Management Application), in some cases without notice and in the midst of commercial operations.

Others have refused to provide banking services or specific operations, as well as refusing to process and / or confirm letters of credit. Padron also referred to the constant attempts to appropriate Cuban trademarks and patents, invoking the provisions of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, adopted in 2002 and set to expire this year. Despite this, Cuba has complied with all the obligations set out in international legal instruments related to this area, which has ensured that more than five thousand U.S. patents and brands have benefited from being registered in the country. DAMAGES TO THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY The pressures exerted by the U.S. on international companies and branches of U.S. companies in third countries prevent Cuban purchases of raw materials, spare parts and technology to ensure the production of chlorine, oxygen, paper and rubber, Lage said Alberto Lage Ramos, senior vice president of Industrial Chemistry Group informed. He explained that the extraterritorial application of the blockade over more than half a century has forced the Cuban government to seek products in Asian or European markets, resulting in increased freight costs and shipping times.

The absence of such restrictions would allow for the country to modernize much of its outdated technology and increase efficiency in the manufacturing process. From March 2013 through April 2014 the Group suffered damages estimated at over 42 million dollars. (With information from AIN)