U.S. Agricultural Exports to Cuba
NCFC actively supports federal policy to ease financial and travel restrictions with Cuba in order to facilitate an increase in U.S. agricultural exports to that country.
NCFC seeks legislative and regulatory changes that address the current travel restrictions and trade impediments to U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba.
On December 17, 2014, the Obama Administration announced changes to U.S. policy toward Cuba. Since then, some of the changes have included establishing diplomatic relations, easing travel restrictions, and facilitating authorized transactions between the U.S. and Cuba. While the policy changes implemented by the U.S. Administration are important to help promote trade between the two countries, additional steps are needed to make U.S. agricultural products competitive for the Cuban market. Congress still needs to remove legislative barriers preventing U.S. financial institutions from offering credit in conjunction with export transactions to Cuba. NCFC supports legislative efforts to eliminate those restrictions.
The total value of U.S. agricultural products shipped to Cuba since 2000, when such sales were first authorized by Congress, has amounted to over $4 billion. However, U.S. exports to Cuba have been down from the high water mark of $695 million in 2008 (to under $200 million in 2015) as other countries have stepped in to supply Cuba’s needs. Major U.S. commodities being exported to Cuba include poultry, soybeans/meal, and corn. Dairy product and rice exports, however, have declined over the past several years, with no U.S. rice being sold to Cuba since 2008.
Cuba imports roughly 80 percent of its food needs for its 11 million people. While U.S. producers are well positioned to benefit from additional trade given the close proximity (short delivery time and low transportation costs) and competitive prices, current U.S. policy hampers their ability to supply the Cuban market. Normalizing trade relations between the United States and Cuba will enhance Cuban citizens’ access to affordable food while providing the U.S. farm and business community with new market access opportunities. Liberalized trade will drive growth in both countries and allow the U.S. farmers, ranchers and food companies to efficiently address Cuban citizens’ food security needs.