What would the end of Cuba trade embargo mean for MN biz?


By: Melissa Colorado

MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota farmers have millions of reasons to want the Cuba trade embargo to be lifted, according to a industry leaders and lawmakers, like U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Congressman Tom Emmer.

"Cuba has about $2 billion in agriculture business every year," explained Klobuchar. "Eighty percent of their food has to be brought in from other countries." 

A nationwide coalition named Engage Cuba, which represents private businesses that have a lot to gain from an end to the embargo, claims Minnesota farmers can benefit economically by increased U.S. exports to Cuba, particularly when it comes to corn, soybeans, and barley. 

With the tourism industry booming in Cuba, Klobuchar argues the country will have extra revenue to buy more exports. 

"As American tourists start coming over," said Klobuchar, "we're going start to have a problem because we're going to lose that business, and it'll all be going to European countries, and China, Venezuela, other places." 

Both Klobuchar and Emmer have each sponsored legislation to life the Cuban embargo. 

On Monday, Engage Cuba will launch it's Minnesota State Council at the office of Frederikson & Bryon at 11 AM. 

Klobuchar, Emmer as well as business leaders in Minnesota' agriculture industry, will be attending the event.