US delegation in Cuba to boost agriculture cooperation

Global Business

A group of U.S.-Cuba Agriculture Coalition members held a three-day conference in Havana aimed at exploring ways to expand current bilateral trade relations.

CGTN’s Luis Chirino reports.

The group was headed by Republican congressman for Arkansas’ First Congressional District, Rick Crawford, who addressed participants from the U.S. and Cuba.

“I believe we are closer than we had ever been before to restoring relationships between the U.S. and Cuba with regards to our agricultural commodities,” Crawford said.

For Congressman Crawford, who favors trade relations with Cuba there is a realization among the American people that there is a viable trade partnership to be made in Cuba and there is a need to assess the elements that prohibit that from happening.

The U.S. trade embargo on Cuba makes it difficult for the island to purchase agricultural products in the U.S., since the island has to pay in cash and upfront, with no possible credits. So, Cuba has to look at other farther markets to import 80 percent of the food demanded by its people.

At the Conference, Cuban Deputy Agriculture minister Jose Rodriguez said: We must say that the current policy of the U.S. administration runs contrary to the interest of the U.S. agriculture and food sector.

For the  U.S. agriculture sector Cuba is an attractive market which  President Donald Trump should consider to open said Paul Johnson Vice-Chair U.S. Cuba Agricultural Coalition.

“He has a lot support across America, and we’d remind him that we want to open up this market, I believe he would want to do the same thing, so that’s our message: allows us to compete with other countries to level
Plainfield and enter this Cuban market.

The agricultural coalition, made up of more than a hundred farm and industry groups, was set up after the reestablishment of diplomatic relations in 2015.

Cuba imports over $2 billion annually in commodities from around the world. Over the past 17 years, the island  used $5 billion to purchase U.S. commodities. A further opening of bilateral agricultural trade would undoubtedly benefit both the United States farming sector and the Cuban people.