The American Soybean Association (ASA) and other agriculture groups urged continued support for advancing relations between the U.S. and Cuba late last week.
In a letter to President-elect Donald Trump, the groups state that net farm income has seen the largest three-year drop since the Great Depression, and increasing access to foreign markets, like Cuba is vital to the growth of American agriculture.
“As a broad cross-section of rural America, we urge you not to take steps to reverse progress made in normalizing relations with Cuba, and also solicit your support for the agricultural business sector to expand trade with Cuba to help American farmers and our associated industries,” the letter states.
Soy growers and other ag groups also encouraged support for the elimination of outdated financing and trade barriers to exporting agricultural products to Cuba.
“This Congressional roadblock puts U.S. agriculture at a serious, global disadvantage as we watch foreign competitors continue to take away our market share because of their ability to offer generous credit terms,” the groups state in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, “As recently as 2008, we were selling nearly $700 million in agriculture products to Cuba annually. In 2015, our sales were under $200 million in what is nearly a $2 billion market—U.S. market share is now less than 10 percent of Cuba’s agricultural imports, despite the superior quality and competitive prices of our products and the logistical advantages we have. Located just 90 miles from the U.S. coast, Cuba should be an obvious and reliable market for American businesses, as it has been in the past.”
American Soybean Association, January 19, 2017