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Coalition Urges President Trump to Open Ag Trade with Cuba

Jun 14, 2017

The U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, of which IDFA is a member, last week urged President Donald Trump to support a bill that would allow U.S. companies to promote agricultural products and develop agricultural businesses in Cuba. The letter, signed by the coalition’s more than 100 organizations and companies, was sent ahead of the trip to Miami tomorrow where he is expected to announce tighter restrictions on business dealings with Cuba, according to Politico.

The Cuba Agricultural Exports Act, H.R. 525, is a bill that puts America first, the coalition said. If enacted, it would lift major financing restrictions many U.S. companies face in Cuba and allow American companies to compete on a level playing field with other exporters to the country.

Currently, U.S. exporters of agricultural products, such as dairy, are hindered by the Trade Sanctions Reform Act of 2000, which requires Cuban importers to pay cash in advance or finance the transactions through third-country banks.

“Roadblocks such as this put U.S. agriculture at a global disadvantage as we watch foreign competitors continue to take away our market share because of their ability to offer generous credit terms,” the coalition said. The coalition added that, in just seven years, sales of U.S. agricultural products to Cuba have declined from nearly $700 million to under $200 million.

“Depriving U.S. farmers and agribusinesses of the tools they need to be successful – such as access to private financing – is harmful to farmers, detrimental to rural economies and denies agribusinesses of an opportunity to grow jobs in the U.S. Therefore, we urge you to endorse H.R. 525, the Cuba Agricultural Exports Act, as a way to grow U.S. agricultural exports and support rural economies and jobs,” the coalition concluded.

Read the letter here.

The U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba represents more than 100 agricultural commodity and farm organizations along with U.S. food and agricultural corporations that support lifting the financing, trade and travel bans for Cuba.

Market for Dairy

The U.S. International Trade Commission recently outlined an optimistic future for U.S. dairy companies looking to establish trade relationships in Cuba. In “Overview of Cuban Imports of Goods and Services and Effects of U.S. Restrictions,” the commission estimated that U.S. exporters could capture market share of 30 percent for total dairy products, with dominance in milk powder and whey estimated at 50 percent to 75 percent, and butter and cheese estimated at 40 percent to 60 percent over the next ten years, if trends continue.

To learn more about the emerging dairy export market to Cuba, contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at bhughes@idfa.org.

 
Dairy Facts 2016