Recent moves to again harden the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba will block near-term sales of U.S. feed grains as well as stymie long-term market development. Despite these factors, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) plans to continue its long-time work in Cuba, driven by members’ core belief that trade is critical for improving U.S.-Cuba relations and the welfare of the Cuban people.
A statement from U.S. Grains Council (USGC) President and CEO Tom Sleight on changes to Cuba policy, announced Friday:
“The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) has worked in Cuba for nearly two decades to help capture grain demand and develop its livestock industry within the confines of U.S. policy. While the announcement today will make our efforts in Cuba more difficult – and almost certainly cost U.S. corn farmers sales in the short term – we have every intention of continuing our work there to build long-term, mutually-beneficial trade.
By: Luis Bustamante, U.S. Grains Council Marketing Specialist for the Western Hemisphere
Something many thought was unthinkable happened this April when the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) escorted grain importers, embassy officials and high-ranking officials from Cuba to the United States for a mission to examine the U.S. grain export system.
Cuban importers and officials visit the U.S. Grains Council’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. April 18, 2016.
A delegation of grain importers and officials from Cuba is traveling in the United States this week to see firsthand the advantages of purchasing U.S. coarse grains and co-products.
Cuba has purchased corn from the United States since the early 2000s, with market share varying widely from as high as 100 percent to just 15 percent more recently. In addition, the country has also purchased U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS).
U.S. President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba this week continued his efforts to reduce trade barriers with the island nation while back home, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and its partners are preparing to welcome a team of Cuban grain industry officials next month.
The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) applauded the reopening of the Cuban embassy on Monday, a historic accomplishment that signifies the United States’ commitment to re-establishing diplomatic relations with that country. Yet there is still work to be done to develop and expand trade of U.S. coarse grains and co-products with this island nation.
The Obama Administration’s efforts to normalize trade with Cuba continue, with an announcement this week that embassies will re-open in Havana and Washington this summer. However, many trade restrictions remain in place that can only be effectively addressed by the U.S. Congress – and that continue to stymie U.S. grain exports to Cuba.
Nine farmer leaders and staff members from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and the North Dakota Barley Council (NDBC) traveled to Cuba last week to see first-hand opportunities for expanding U.S. coarse grain exports if trade is fully normalized with the island nation.
Leaders from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and the North Dakota Barley Council are set to travel to Cuba next week to continue the grain industry’s appraisal of the market potential for U.S. coarse grain exports and reengagement with key customers.
This mission will include a visit to a Cuban port, meetings with Cuban government officials and tours of the animal sectors in Cuba including beef, dairy and poultry.