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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

U.S. Grain Leaders Visit Cuba as U.S. Embassy Restored

As news that the U.S. Embassy is being restored in Cuba, leaders from the U.S. Grains Council, the North Dakota Barley Council, and National Corn Growers visited the country to examine the various existing barriers to U.S. grain sales in the country.

Cuba has been purchasing corn from the U.S. since the early 2000s, with market share varying between 15% and 100% over that time period, and has been purchasing U.S. dried distiller’s grains since 2005. However, the U.S. embargo has created a trade environment where rivals such as Brazil have come to dominate Cuba’s grain market.

If Cuba purchased all of its corn from the U.S. it would become the U.S.’s 12th largest overseas market, and the delegation visited with officials with the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investments to expanding cooperation.

Cuba has limited domestic egg production and no broiler production, and by helping to build up these industries, there is great opportunity to build demand for U.S. coarse grains and co-products. The removal of trade barriers and changes to U.S.-Cuban foreign trade policy could not only open channels for trade, but will in the future support the improvement of Cuba’s overall economy. This will lead to shifts in diet to include more meat and higher levels of protein as incomes rise. This higher demand for protein will lead to a higher demand for livestock feed and grain creating an environment of mutual prosperity for both Cuba and the U.S. grain industry.

Interested in learning more about this topic? This year's Oilseed & Grain Trade Summit, on Sept. 30 - Oct. 2, will feature a keynote address from Alina Fernandez, daughter of Fidel Castro, who will discuss the hostory and future of Cuba from her unique perspective. Following this fascinating presentation a panel of Cuba experts will discuss the opportunities for the oilseed and grains sectors and what challenges lie ahead.

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