US agriculture coalition calls for lifting of Cuba embargo

DevryBoughnerVorwerk-1Washington, USA (ACN) — The US Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC), founded a year ago and comprising 25 agricultural organizations, recently held a press conference in Washington DC to explain the importance of lifting the US embargo of Cuba and reestablishing bilateral trade relations.

A US media report cited by the Cuban Handshake website explained that coalition members stated that “US trade sanctions against Cuba have failed and have harmed not only agricultural and other business opportunities in the island country but the 11 million people of Cuba.”

Devry Boughner Vorwerk, vice president of corporate affairs for Cargill and USACC chairman, said the coalition re-energizes the US agriculture community’s long history of support to change the status quo of US-Cuba policy and offer high-quality, affordable, safe food to the Cuban people, the article read.

“What we believe is that through greater openness and normalization of relations, that allows not only US agriculture but other US businesses across manufacturing, medical technology, etc., to take advantage of that opportunity in the market and to also help the Cuban people begin to grow their incomes and enhance their standards of living,” she said.

The article also cited Paul Johnson, owner of Chicago Foods and executive director of the Illinois-Cuba Working Group, as saying that “the 54-year-old embargo hasn’t served the interests of the United States or of the Cuban people.”

Johnson, whose company exports food products to Cuba, said to be competitive the US must extend to Cuba the same credit and other financial terms given to other trading partners, and to open US markets to Cuban goods.

Current restrictions require Cubans pay in cash through a third-party bank for agricultural products before delivery. The lack of return shipments of Cuban goods increases transportation costs, the article read.

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