U.S. Ag Leaders Look to Trade with Cuba
Several of the largest trade groups representing grain farmers and agricultural equipment manufacturers in the U.S. are more than eager to restore agricultural trade with Cuba.
To advance their agenda, the groups have formed a U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) “to advance trade relations between the U.S. and Cuba by re-establishing Cuba as a market for U.S. food and agriculture exports.”
In an official statement, the USACC “believes that normalizing trade relations between the U.S. and Cuba will provide the U.S. farm and business community with new market access opportunities, drive enhanced growth in both countries and allow U.S. farmers, ranchers and food companies to efficiently address Cuban citizen’s food security needs.”
Among the new groups members are the U.S. Grains Council, the National Association of Wheat Growers, the American Soybean Association, and its newest member, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).
Speaking at a recent Commodity Classic trade event in New Orleans, the new group’s co-chair, Paul Johnson, stated, “Our message to the administration and Congress is simple – let us compete. This not only helps U.S. ag producers, but also the Cuban people.”
The USACC, said Johnson, “ultimately seeks to end the embargo and allow for open trade and investment.”
According to Charlie O’Brien, AEM senior vice president, “Our members are extremely interested in Cuba. We feel that our products can improve agricultural production and conditions for the people of Cuba through technology like precision agriculture. We’re interested in what is down the line.”
American Soybean Association director Joel Schreurs said, “We are committed to removing barriers with Cuba. Congress has to act to reduce the barriers that allow access to credit. Being less than 100 miles off our coast, Cuba should be a fantastic opportunity for us.”