Delegation studies potentials for trade and Cuban agronomy
ST. PAUL, Minn. (Dec. 22, 2015) — Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson led an exploratory delegation to Cuba last week to discover potential trade relations with Cuba if embargoes are eased in the future. Over the past several months, the U.S. and Cuba have taken several small steps toward normalizing trade.
“Several signs point to Cuba as a great potential export market for Minnesota farmers,” said Commissioner Frederickson. “However, trade is a two-way street and we explored some of the future ways we can work together to create the biggest benefit to both of our agricultural economies.”
It’s up to federal lawmakers to remove the current trade limitations, and U.S. agriculture is positioned to become a major trading partner with Cuba. Senator Amy Klobuchar introduced the Freedom to Export to Cuba Act earlier this year as an effort to lift the current trade embargo. Also this year, Representative Tom Emmer co-introduced the Cuba Trade Act of 2015 in the U.S. House of Representatives; a similar proposal to normalize trade with Cuba.
Potential exports from the U.S. include potatoes, poultry products, soybean products, corn, animal feed, and processed foods. Although Cuban imports are smaller than most other global trade partners, the country can offer trade value. According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, agricultural exports for American farmers would increase for most major commodity groups.
The commissioner’s delegation toured farms and markets in Cuba to gauge the processes of their food production. The delegation also met with Cuban government officials and agricultural research leaders. Groups joining the commissioner included members of the following commodity promotion councils: soybean, poultry, wheat, dairy, corn, grain and feed, barley, and processed foods. Delegates are now briefing their respective associations about potential trade in the Cuban market.