US Governors call for end to Cuban trade embargo

Posted: 20-Oct-15 09:02

There are increased hopes that the trade embargo between America and Cuba is set to end, as nine influential US governors call for improved relations between the two countries.

US Governors call for end to Cuban trade embargo

In a historic move in-line with the recent thawing of relations between the two countries, nine key US governors have asked Congress to reconsider the embargo that was placed on all trading activity with Cuba.

This is, naturally, a key market for agricultural exports as Cuba imports around 80% of its food stocks from abroad – a market worth a cool $1.7 billion. And there is hope that visitors to the island will soon be able to enjoy American produce as governors from states including California, Alabama and Washington claimed in a letter to Congress that the ban:

"… prevents them from benefitting from new business opportunities."

Relations between Cuba and the US have improved in recent times, and since 2000, American firms have been able to export food products to the island with certain restrictions. It is the first time in 40 years that such anagreement has been put in place, and now governors of largely agricultural states want that deal to be extended yet further.

"It is time for Congress to take action and remove the financial, travel, and other restrictions that impede normal commerce and trade between our nation and Cuba."

The governors wrote in the letter. They continued:

"Foreign competitors such as Canada, Brazil and the European Union are increasingly taking market share from US industry, as these countries do not face the same restrictions on financing."

There is also the belief that food exports are a market that the US can exploit in Cuba, with total agricultural exports from America totalling $152 billion last year. There are a number of other economic benefits of a deal being struck, with job creation and increased industry just two of the major considerations.

The United States and Cuba have long had a chequered history, with the current trade embargo in place dating back to 1960 and the rule of Fidel Castro. This was made permanent in 1996 when two US aircraft piloted by Cuban exiles were shot down by the islanders.

Following the devastation of Hurricane Michelle in 2001, the US government agreed to send aid to Cuba in the aftermath – the first time that America had exported food to Cuba in nearly 50 years.


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