June 2, 2023


local businesses

Cigar business desires to bring Cuban tobacco again to Tampa

Eric Newman, President of J.C. Newman Cigar Company, poses for a photograph Friday, Dec. 19, 2014 along with a bail of Cuban tobacco that was purchased before the 1960 embargo. One of the historic sweeping changes in the United States' policy toward Cuba that President Barrack Obama announced on Wednesday was allowing U.S. citizens visiting the island nation to bring up to $100 in tobacco products back with them. (Chris Urso/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

Eric Newman, President of J.C. Newman Cigar Company, poses for a photograph Friday, Dec. 19, 2014 along with a bail of Cuban tobacco that was ordered before the 1960 embargo. A person of the historic sweeping adjustments in the United States’ policy towards Cuba that President Barrack Obama introduced on Wednesday was enabling U.S. citizens traveling to the island nation to bring up to $100 in tobacco solutions again with them. (Chris Urso/Tampa Bay Periods by means of AP)


The J.C. Newman Cigar Enterprise promises to have the nation’s past bale of Cuban tobacco.

Bought just prior to the U.S. authorities slicing off all business enterprise relations with the socialist country in 1962, the Newman loved ones now merchants it in their Ybor Metropolis manufacturing facility basement.

They use it as part of a heritage tour detailing Tampa’s time as cigar rolling capitol of the entire world, which was created probable thanks to the city’s shut relationship with Cuba’s tobacco farmers.

The Newmans now hope to import the very first bales of Cuban tobacco since the embargo was enacted 6 many years in the past.

They have petitioned the U.S. Point out Office for permission to do so by using an Obama-period system that lets American enterprises to import goods and companies manufactured by Cuban entrepreneurs who operate independently of Cuba’s condition-run economic climate.

Cuban cigars are banned in the U.S. for the reason that they are only rolled by a partnership among Cuba’s point out-operate Habanos S.A. and London-primarily based Imperial Tobacco.

“There are impartial farmers growing tobacco in Cuba, like some unbiased tobacco farming co-ops,” explained Drew Newman, standard counsel for J.C. Newman, which is Tampa’s previous cigar manufacturing unit. “Before President Kennedy imposed the Cuban Embargo, my grandfather and great-grandfather imported hundreds of thousands of lbs of Cuban tobacco into the United States through the Port of Tampa.”

To start out, they would like to import 10,000 kilos of Cuban tobacco, plenty of to handroll 150,000 to 175,000 cigars.

“We’ll choose as much as we can get or as minor as we can get,” Newman mentioned. “I’m sure it will start off off gradually as the U.S. government presents us permission, but then we can improve it in excess of time.”

Because Obama commenced the program to aid Cuba’s private sector, the U.S. governing administration has accepted the import of coffee and charcoal.

John Kavulich, is the president of the New York-based mostly U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, which analyzes and predicts company developments concerning the nations. He explained this is the right time for the Newmans to petition for the import.

The Biden administration, he claimed, is thinking about letting Americans to invest in Cuba’s private sector. Presently, U.S. citizens can only donate to the enterprises.

“This impacts the Newmans in a fantastic way,” Kavulich explained. “The Biden administration has curiosity in furnishing extra assist to Cuba’s private sector.”

Even now, Kavulich stated, the Cuban governing administration have to permit its personal farms to sell tobacco to the Newmans.

“They’ve reported no right before,” he reported. “Cuba wouldn’t make it possible for the export of honey … and the Cubans have been questioned many instances for the duration of the very last two many years of the Obama administration to permit the export of cocoa beans and they would not do it.”

And Cuba, he included, is “extremely protective of its tobacco.”

What is far more, the U.S. govt makes it possible for citizens who experienced their Cuban land nationalized to sue businesses that now financial gain from the house. The Newmans, Kavulich reported, ought to be specific a Cuban partner’s farm does not fall into that classification.

At its peak in the early 1900s, Tampa experienced more than 150 factories producing much more than 500 million hand-rolled stogies, largely applying Cuban tobacco.

The Newmans initially saved that very last bale of Cuban tobacco as a internet marketing ploy.

When other cigar factories ran out of Cuban tobacco, the Newmans even now advertised they had some, even if none of it was being rolled.

“Authorizing the importation of uncooked tobacco developed in Cuba would enable us and other American cigar makers to help independent Cuban business people,” Newman wrote in his petition to the Point out Section, “and to demonstrate, the moment once again, that we can roll greater cigars with Cuban tobacco than Cuba can.”