Cargill sees positives in progress with Cuba

by Eric Schroeder
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MINNEAPOLIS — Cargill, which long has been a proponent of ending the embargo and has supported humanitarian exemptions on food shipments to Cuba, last week expressed support for the White House’s plan to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba.

“This is an important moment,” said David MacLennan, president and chief executive officer of Cargill. “The history of trade liberalization has clearly led to economic and social benefits for others.”

Devry Boughner Vorwerk, vice-president of Cargill and chairman of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, a partnership of more than 20 prominent U.S. agriculture associations committed to normalizing trade with Cuba, said the move “will drive growth in both countries.”

“It will create a new market for U.S. farmers, ranchers and food companies, and give the Cuban people improved access to affordable food,” Ms. Vorwerk said. 

Cuba is the largest wheat market in the Caribbean, purchasing almost all of its wheat from the European Union and Canada, according to the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW). The nation could import at least 500,000 tonnes of wheat from the United States each year but has not purchased U.S. wheat since 2011.

“U.S. wheat farmers are excited about the prospect of exporting more wheat to Cuba,” said Paul Penner, president of the NAWG. “NAWG has long supported strengthened trade relations with Cuba and see this as a historic step in that direction.”
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