U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC), an association composed of more than 90 U.S. agricultural companies and state and national organizations committed to normalizing exports of food and agricultural products to Cuba, sent a letter to the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee expressing opposition to any attempt to restrict trade and travel to Cuba, and describing any such measures as detrimental to the nation’s agricultural industry and the future of Cuba-U.S. relations.
In the message, the association describes itself as a coalition of agricultural producers, ranch owners, trade groups, agri-businesses and other institutions related to the food and agriculture industries which share the desire for trade liberalization between the U.S. and Cuba, while expressing support for all Congressional measures which might increase opportunities for U.S. agriculture through the normalization of trade relations with Cuba and, ultimately, an end to the blockade.
The USACC is in favor of a future which sees the free exchange of goods, capital and services between the two nations, with potential financial benefits for the Cuban people, allowing the country to tackle its food and various other needs.
In the letter the USACC also describes Cuba as a natural market for its products and criticizes the fact that despite the exception of being able to sell to Cuba on humanitarian grounds, the U.S. agricultural industry is loosing opportunities in the Cuban market - taken advantage of by other countries. It notes that since 2008, U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba have decreased by more than 130% from 700 million dollars to 300 million.
The Coalition is calling on Senators to block any legislative efforts attempting to reverse progress made to date in regards to the expansion of trade and travel to Cuba.
Agricultural producers, farmers and officials of the Agricultural, Treasury and Trade departments testified in a public hearing to the opportunities and challenges of trading with Cuba.