Cuba agricultural trade potential could exceed $1 billion

U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba could reach $1.2 billion annually if regulations are relaxed and some trade barriers are lifted.

More open trade with Cuba could boost agricultural exports and add jobs to the U.S. economy.

The opportunity does not come without challenges, however, says a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension economist.

Parr Rosson, Texas A&M University agricultural economics department head, said a more open economy, coupled with less regulation by both governments, strong tourism and remittances, would pave the way for U.S. food and agricultural exports to potentially reach record levels within five years.

Rosson, also Texas AgriLife Extension agricultural economics department head, recently told members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry that U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba could reach $1.2 billion annually if regulations are relaxed and some trade barriers are lifted.

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“The opportunity for job creation in the U.S. as a result of more open trade with Cuba is substantial,” Rosson said. “Our estimates indicate that U.S. food and agricultural exports to Cuba have the potential to exceed $1 billion annually. These additional exports would support the creation of 6,000 new jobs throughout the U.S. economy, along with another $739 million in business activity nationwide.”

However, Rosson said there are challenges for this to happen.

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