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Ag groups in the U.S. want Biden Administration to strengthen trade with Cuba

SIOUX FALLS, SD – Twenty-three agriculture groups, including the South Dakota Soybean Association, want the Biden Administration to strengthen trade ties with Cuba.

The groups sent a letter to the President-Elect saying that Cuba could be buying a lot more, corn, dairy and other ag commodities produced in the U.S.  Kevin Scott, who farms near Valley Springs, SD, and is the president of the American Soybean Association says it makes sense to trade with Cuba.

It would be a good market,” says Scott.   “ I think we’re getting to a point to restart trade with Cuba. There is a protein need down there.  It would be a win/win.”

He says opening credit opportunities for Cuba is important in enhancing trade with that island nation.

“The problem with our regulations around Cuba, is that we have to have things paid for with no credit given like our other trading partners would have,” says Scott. “ It’s harder for Cuba to buy from us because they basically have to have the cash in hand before they order.  Unless they really want something, they’ll do without it.   We need to normalize trade relations there.”

Scott is hoping by weighing in with the new President that it’ll foster positive policies toward advancing trade and opportunities for U.S. farmers and ranchers.

“We want the new administration to know that we’re pro-trade and that agreements with other countries are still important to us,” says Scott.  “The past administration was more into bi-lateral trade; one country to one country.  Prior to that we were working on the Asian countries. We’d like to revisit that.”

Cuba imports about $2 billion worth of ag commodities a year, but the U.S. only gets about 10 percent of that business so strengthening those trade relations could help in that area.

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