MONTPELIER – October 13, 2015 – Gov. Peter Shumlin has joined eight Governors from across the country in sending a letter to Congressional leadership urging an end to current trade sanctions imposed against Cuba by the United States. Ending those restrictions could open up an 11 million person market for many Vermont industries, including dairy, renewable energy, consumer and manufactured goods, technology, tourism and others.
Current constraints severely limit the ability of U.S. companies to serve the Cuban market. One such limitation prevents U.S. companies from offering standard credit terms, requiring Cuba to pay cash in advance, which is a serious barrier to conducting business. Without such restrictions, competitors like Brazil, the European Union, and Canada are increasingly establishing themselves as a more reliable trading source.
When it comes to the iconic Vermont dairy industry, the trade restrictions put Vermont producers at a serious disadvantage. Last year, the two largest suppliers of dairy products to Cuba were the European Union and New Zealand. Together the two countries accounted for over $160 million in dairy exports to Cuba.
“Lifting these sanctions would give Vermont farmers and businesses an opportunity to reach a new market with their goods and services. It would also allow our state to attract more tourists, establish new businesses partnerships, and cultivate a stronger and more positive relationship between our two nations. It’s simply the right thing to do,” said Gov. Shumlin.
Vermont’s congressional delegation, led by the work of Sen. Patrick Leahy, have been strong supporters of improving relations with Cuba to advance economic and cultural ties with the country and its people.
The attached letter, which was sent last week, was signed by Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington, Governor Thomas Wolf of Pennsylvania, Governor Steve Bullock of Montana, Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota, Governor Butch Otter of Idaho, Governor Robert Bentley of Alabama, and Governor Jerry Brown of California.