Engage Cuba and the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, two leading groups working to end the embargo on Cuba, released a comprehensive report on the significant economic benefits for Iowa, a top exporter of soybeans and corn, of increased trade with Cuba.
Soybeans and corn will become increasingly important agricultural imports as Cuba’s livestock sector develops in the long-term. However, U.S. soybean and corn exports to Cuba have dramatically declined in recent years due to a U.S. law that prevents U.S. exporters from extending private credit to Cuba. The report states that Iowa exports have significant room for growth if changes in U.S. policies open opportunities for agricultural trade with Cuba and allow U.S. exporters to extend private credit to Cuba.
“Soybeans are not only a leading revenue source of Iowa’s agriculture sector, but a major economic driver for the entire state. Cuba’s growing agriculture markets provides tremendous opportunities for Iowa to increase exports and strengthen its economy,” said James Williams, President of Engage Cuba. “By fighting to pass legislation to remove restrictions on extending credit for agricultural exports, Engage Cuba is working to ensure that Iowa farmers are able to take full advantage of Cuba’s growing agriculture markets.”
Engage Cuba is advocating for the bipartisan Agricultural Export Expansion Act of 2015 in order to allow Iowa farmers to offer financing to Cuban importers and recapture lost market share. Additionally, Engage Cuba is working to lift the travel ban through the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, which would expand Cuba’s already growing markets and provide additional opportunities for U.S. agribusiness to export to Cuba. More information on both pieces of legislation is available here.
Engage Cuba will be launching an Iowa state council on June 3, as part of Engage Cuba’s efforts to build a movement across the country. The council will include top business and civic leaders to galvanize local support for congressional action to end the trade and travel embargo. More information on Engage Cuba’s state council network across the country is available here, http://www.engagecuba.org.
Engage Cuba is the leading coalition of private companies and organizations working to end the travel and trade embargo on Cuba. As a 501(c)(4) bipartisan non-profit whose funds are entirely dedicated to advocacy efforts, Engage Cuba is the only organization whose focus is U.S.-Cuba legislative advocacy.
kbur.com, May 11, 2016