Engage Cuba, USACC Expand State Analysis on Benefits of Industry Trade with Cuba

WASHINGTON – Today Engage Cuba, the leading coalition of private businesses and organizations working to end the travel and trade embargo on Cuba, released a comprehensive report on the benefits that increased agriculture trade between the U.S. and Cuba could bring to six states: Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, and North Dakota. The report, released in conjunction with the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC), is the second analysis by Engage Cuba on the state specific benefits that U.S. agribusiness stands to gain in future trade agreements with Cuba.

The report highlights agricultural products exported by states, including rice, poultry, soy, corn, and wheat. These products, which are currently imported by Cuba from other countries, could experience significant growth should the embargo with the Island be lifted.

"The latest report shows that U.S. agribusiness is continuing to lose market share in Cuba due to our own policies that prevent U.S. businesses from extending credit to Cuba for agricultural goods. U.S. farmers and agribusiness are at a competitive disadvantage, and as a result, the U.S. has slipped in its ranking to the 5th supplier of agriculture exports to Cuba," said President of Engage Cuba, James Williams. "This report shows, yet again, how congressional failure to act is not only hurting U.S. farmers who are unable to compete in Cuba's growing market, but also Cubans who rely on imports for up to 80% of their agricultural needs.

Key findings from the report include:

·         Alabama: Alabama is the number two U.S. exporter of poultry, with broiler meat exports making up almost one-third of the state’s total agricultural export value. As a top exporter, Alabama stands to gain from the increasing trend since 2000 in Cuba’s poultry imports.

·         Indiana: Indiana is the number three soybean exporter among U.S. states, totaling more than $2 billion in FY2014—35% of the state’s agricultural exports. Soybeans and soybean meal will be increasingly important for Cuba’s agricultural imports as its livestock sector develops in the longer term.

·         Iowa: Iowa is the second largest exporter of U.S. agricultural products in the country. With increases in tourism and large demand from Cubans for these products, Iowan agribusiness and its top exports of soybeans, soybean meal, and feed grains stands to gain millions in increased exports.

·         Mississippi: Mississippi is the fifth-largest poultry exporter and stands to gain from the increasing trend in Cuba’s poultry imports. Lifting the embargo with Cuba would allow Mississippi to take back market share in poultry exports from international competitors such as Brazil.

·         Missouri: Missouri’s top export, soybeans, is in high demand in Cuba. The Island imports more than $250 million in soybean products, which could come from Missouri if the embargo were lifted.

·         North Dakota: North Dakota is the top exporter of U.S. wheat, which was one of the top agricultural exports to Cuba prior to the embargo.

The first Engage Cuba agricultural report, released in March in conjunction with USACC, detailed the benefits of expanded agriculture trade for Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas.