The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) applaud President Obama’s announcement today that the United States will begin discussions to renew diplomatic relations with Cuba, which will make it easier for Cuba to buy U.S. agricultural products, including wheat. We anticipate that these re-established trade relations will help open a market for U.S. wheat products in Cuba.
Cuba, which does not grow wheat commercially, is the largest wheat market in the Caribbean, purchasing almost all of its wheat from the European Union and Canada. Cuba could import at least 500,000 metric tons of wheat from the United States each year but has not purchased U.S. wheat since 2011. Under the current embargo, the United States can export agricultural products to Cuba through the use of third-party banking institutions, which makes facilitating trade burdensome and often more expensive.
“U.S. wheat farmers are excited about the prospect of exporting more wheat to Cuba,” says NAWG President Paul Penner. “NAWG has long supported strengthened trade relations with Cuba and see this as a historic step in that direction.”
“The U.S. wheat industry applauds these actions, which take concrete steps away from a policy approach towards Cuba that has accomplished little,” said USW President Alan Tracy. “If Cuba resumes purchases of U.S. wheat, we believe our market share there could grow from its current level of zero to around 80-90 percent, as it is in other Caribbean nations.”