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Dairy Industry Joins Others in Favoring an End to the Cuban Trade Embargo

January 12, 2015

NMPF has joined more than two dozen other food and agriculture groups in supporting changes to travel and financing restrictions that impeded trade with Cuba.

NMPF, the U.S. Dairy Export Council and the International Dairy Foods Association are all members now of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, a group of nearly 35 trade associations and companies that favor an end to the half-century-old U.S. trade embargo on Cuba.

The groups want travel restrictions to Cuba lifted and, more importantly, payments for agricultural products to pass from Cuba directly to U.S. banks. Right now, these payments must be routed through banks in other countries.

Recently, Cuba has imported approximately $200 million in dairy products annually, virtually none of it from the United States.

NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern said unilateral U.S. actions should not hinder U.S. dairy exporters from selling products to any nation. “Right now, we are ceding the Cuban market to our competitors,” Mulhern said. “This is a natural export market for U.S. dairy products and we look forward to expanding our ability to provide Cubans with the safe, nutritious dairy products we produce here.”

Trade reforms announced last month by the Obama administration only slightly relax the rules for Cuban payments to American farmers. The changes sought by the Agricultural Coalition for Cuba require congressional action.