Press Release | 114th Congress
Opening Statement by Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin C. Peterson
American Agricultural Trade with Cuba
--As Prepared for Delivery--
“Thank you Mr. Chairman and welcome, today’s witnesses, to the Agriculture Committee.
“I am a long-time supporter of expanding trade with Cuba. Some of those who were here when I was Chairman may remember that we passed legislation that would expand U.S. agricultural exports and allow Americans to travel to Cuba more freely. Unfortunately, that legislation died when it went to the Foreign Affairs Committee.
“Now, as we’re all aware, the Administration has taken steps to ease both trade and travel restrictions. This is a good step but there is still more work that we can do to open this market to American agricultural products. I would like to see the embargo lifted but am doubtful that it’s politically possible to do so now.
“I do want to caution however, that with the exception of rice and possibly wheat, the potential benefits are limited – at least in the short term. Cuba is a small country with most people having very limited income. I visited Cuba in 2015 and from what I was able to learn from my discussions with Cuban officials it would seem that, without ending the embargo, there’s still a long way to go.
“All that said, I think in the long term trade with Cuba will be a benefit to U.S. agriculture and the Cuban people. I look forward to working with my colleagues to see this happen.
“Again, I thank the Chair and look forward to today’s testimony.”