Posted October 21, 2016
On October 14, the Obama administration announced the next steps in further loosening the U.S. sanctions against Cuba, continuing the process of normalization that the Administration hopes to make permanent before leaving office.
To the excitement of many, Americans have been authorized to bring back rum and cigars from Cuba, for personal use. However, for agriculture, the excitement is in an expansion of exports for goods such as farm equipment and pesticides. These new amendments allow exporters to avoid cash-in-advance requirements for transactions involving agricultural commodities that have caused significant barriers. The loosening of restrictions in trade with Cuba provides an opportunity for American wheat growers to take advantage of the available Caribbean market, in the face of declining prices and market surplus.
With foreign competitors taking advantage of the Cuban wheat import market, American growers welcome this announcement that will help decrease financial barriers and regulations that have restricted US wheat access for decades.
NAWG President Gordon Stoner said that “one of the solutions to boosting the sagging farm economy is increased trade.”
According to Daniel Heady, Government Affairs Director for Kansas Wheat, "There is still much more work to be done, but we are happy these changes have been made."
The Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and the National Association of Wheat Growers support efforts to liberalize trade with Cuba by loosening regulations on products exported out of the country and encourages Congress and the Obama Administration to continue on the path toward ending the embargo.
"We look forward to the day when we can sell agricultural products to Cuba," said Heady.