A coalition of ag groups, agribusinesses, and related industries sent a group of representatives to Cuba for a three-day conference aimed at increasing sales and cooperation between the two nations. Reuters reports the conference was held in spite of President Donald Trump’s repeated threats to tighten trade sanctions against the island nation.
The U.S. Ag Coalition for Cuba wants the trade embargo lifted and they want more trade between the two nations, so they sponsored the trip. Going as far back as 2000, U.S. farmers and agribusinesses have sold $5.7 billion worth of food to the communist nation. It was in 2000 that an amendment was added to the trade embargo allowing cash-only sales.
Cuba imports up to $2 billion in food every year and American farmers and ranchers want a bigger slice of that pie. Paul Johnson, a co-chair of the Ag Coalition for Cuba, says, “Rural America supported President Trump and will continue to support him. We want him to remember those same people also want him to open up the Cuban market.”
Johnson says trade hasn’t reached its full potential with Cuba, and changes underway in the Cuban government represent an opportunity ahead for American farmers and ranchers.