Hot Topics: Cuban Embargo Will Hurt Grain Trade Despite Continued Engagement

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Recent moves to again harden the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba will block near-term sales of U.S. feed grains as well as stymie long-term market development. Despite these factors, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) plans to continue its long-time work in Cuba, driven by members’ core belief that trade is critical for improving U.S.-Cuba relations and the welfare of the Cuban people. 

ICYMI: USGC Chairman Urges That NAFTA Modernization Do No Harm To U.S. Ag

U.S. trade negotiators should make every effort to do no harm to U.S. agriculture when modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and should proceed quickly to help allay uncertainty felt by both customers and U.S. grain producers, USGC Chairman Chip Councell testified this week before a panel assembled by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

USGC: NAFTA Modernization Efforts Should Seek to Ease Uncertainty For Customers, U.S. Farmers

Concerns about the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have disrupted relationships with longstanding customers of U.S. grains and caused significant concern in farm country, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) Chairman Chip Councell testified Tuesday to a panel of government officials examining priorities ahead of NAFTA renegotiation talks.

Councell, a farmer from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, spoke at the hearing to provide information and offer personal insights into the impact of NAFTA changes to the U.S. corn, sorghum and barley industries.

U.S. Grains Council Statement On Cuba Announcement

A statement from U.S. Grains Council (USGC) President and CEO Tom Sleight on changes to Cuba policy, announced Friday:

“The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) has worked in Cuba for nearly two decades to help capture grain demand and develop its livestock industry within the confines of U.S. policy. While the announcement today will make our efforts in Cuba more difficult – and almost certainly cost U.S. corn farmers sales in the short term – we have every intention of continuing our work there to build long-term, mutually-beneficial trade.

Trade Agreements A Good Deal For U.S. Feed Grains

Trade equals huge success for exports of U.S. feed grains in all forms, particularly to the 20 countries with which the United States has a free trade agreement (FTA). 

Exports of feed grains in all forms to FTA partner countries have increased by nearly 24 percent over the last 10 marketing years (2006/2007 to 2015/2016), according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) trade data and analysis by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC). 

USGC Board of Directors Meets In Mexico

The full U.S. Grains Council (USGC) Board of Directors is meeting in Mexico City, Mexico, this week to discuss the trade relationship between U.S. producers and Mexican end-users. 

“We felt it was really important for the board, and the board felt it was important, to meet with their customers face-to-face and hear what they have to say,” said USGC President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Sleight. “That physical presence means a lot to our Mexican trading partners.”

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