Texas takes trade trip to Cuba
Cuban workers sewing potatoes in Guines, Cuba
TEXT OF STORY
Scott Jagow: Today, a trade delegation from Texas is headed to Cuba. Wait, something about that isn't quite right. Trade delegation, Cuba, Texas . . . wait, don't we have a trade embargo with Cuba? Dan Grech reports from our America's Desk at WLRN.
Dan Grech: Since 2000, U.S. agricultural and medical products have been exempted from the embargo. Over the past seven years, Cuba has imported $2.7 billion worth of food from the U.S. Texas accounts for just 4 percent of that.
Farmers, ranchers and port representatives from the Lone Start State will make the five-day trip. They're scheduled to meet with Cuban agriculture officials and visit three farms to identify the island's food needs.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples organized the trip:
Todd Staples: Obviously, the trip is based on food and not about politics. But establishing good trading relationships should be a cornerstone to have a dialogue about other issues in the future.
Twenty-five other states have sent their own trade delegations in recent years. The U.S. makes up just one-fifth of total food exports to Cuba, and U.S. farmers want a bigger piece of the pie.
I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.