At the 25th Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (see here), I was fortunate enough to participate in a panel on "International Economic Topics":
Chair: Helena Solo-Gabriele, University of Miami
--Jorge Perez-Lopez, U.S. Department of Labor (retired), “Foreign Investment in Cuba’s Updating of its Economic Model”
--Larry Catá Backer, Penn State University, “Global Corporate Social Responsibility (GCSR) Standards With Cuban Characteristics: What Normalization Means for Transnational Enterprise Activity in Cuba”
--Jorge Piñón, University of Texas at Austin, “Cuba’s Petroleum Conundrum: Its Dependency on Imported Oil”
Discussants: Bryan Roberts, Econometrica; Luis R. Luis
Global Corporate Social Responsibility (GCSR) Standards With Cuban Characteristics: What Normalization Means for Transnational Enterprise Activity in Cuba
ABSTRACT: The 2014 move toward normalization between the U.S. and Cuba has substantial repercussions beyond the scope of the terms of their rapprochement. For the economic, political and legal sectors, these repercussions touch on legal or societal constraints of global standards faced by MNEs seeking to operate in Cuba. The projection of these global standards within Cuba may pose difficulties and produce pressure for legal-economic reform within Cuba. Those pressures may be particularly acute with respect to issues now understood as subjects of corporate social responsibility: transparency/disclosure, human rights, employment/industrial relations, environmental issues, bribery/corruption, consumer protection, technology transfer, anti-competitive schemes, and taxation. While the principle obligation of enterprises is to comply with local law, these emerging global standards may substantially compromise the relationship between local law and global obligations. This paper suggests the issues that may face Cuba and enterprises, including U.S. based enterprises, in the wake of normalization. After the introduction, Part II considers briefly the local legal and political context in which enterprises may operate in Cuba, with particular focus on Ley No. 118/2014 (De la Inversión Extranjera), and its contextualization within the legal structures of Cuban macro-economic policy. Part III then outlines two important standards systems for global CSR with effect in Cuba, the OECD’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the U.N. Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights. Part IV then considers the ways in which MNEs may have to approach their investment activities in light of these standards, the pressures for change they might produce, and the adverse effects their adverse effects on MNE decisions to invest or operate in Cuba.