ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) — This past week there was a congressional hearing of the House Agriculture Committee, focusing on U.S. trade with Cuba. The United States is looking to loosen restrictions with Cuba to give U.S. farmers a boost during a time when commodity prices are low. The U.S. lost a billion dollars in potential farm sales to Cuba over a span of a few years because of financial restrictions. Matt Gibson of Bunge North America said between 2013 and 2015 the Dominican Republic imported $1.3 billion worth of agriculture products from the United States, while during this same time, Cuba only imported $262 million from the U.S. which is $1 billion dollars left off the table. The financial restrictions have prevented U.S. agricultural companies from providing credit to Cuban entities that want to buy U.S. agricultural goods. The National Corn Growers Association is encouraging any efforts to reduce trade barriers saying U.S. corn exports to Cuba have decreased from almost 800,000 metric tons in 2008 to just 26,000 metric tons in 2015.
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WEAU13News, September 19, 2016