• By Lynda Kiernan

USGC Prepares for Cuban Grain Team Visit

Following President Obama’s historic visit to Cuba, the U.S. Grains Council is preparing to welcome a team of Cuban grain industry officials to the U.S. next month. The team of Cuban commodity importers and officials will visit Washington DC, Maryland, Missouri, and Louisiana next month and will meet with U.S. grain and soybean suppliers to gain greater knowledge of the U.S. purchasing process and logistics systems, with the goal of increasing U.S. grain exports.

The march toward the normalizing of relations between the U.S. and Cuba moves apace, as investment and cooperation deals are forged, the U.S. government eased travel restrictions on its citizens to Cuba, and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack announced that agricultural commodity groups may now use checkoff funds for promotional activities in the Cuban market.

The U.S. has sold corn to Cuba since 2000, however, U.S. market share has fallen to 15%. Given that Cuba buys 900,000 tons of corn per year on average, if the U.S. could gain 100% of the market, it would make Cuba the 10th largest importer of U.S. corn according to a USGC press release.

“Since the Obama Administration’s announcement that it would seek to normalize trade relations with Cuba, the Council has viewed this market with a renewed energy,” said USGC Chairman and Nebraska farmer, Alan Tiemann. “We continue to assess how best to serve this island nation’s needs as its economy shifts and restrictions continue to fall.”

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Lynda Kiernan is Editor with HighQuest Group Media and of the Oilseed & Grain News. If you would like to submit a contribution for consideration, please contact Ms. Kiernan at lkiernan@highquestgroup.com.

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