TFB commends Abbott for promoting trade of Texas agricultural products to Cuba
(WACO, Texas)—The state’s largest farm and ranch organization commended Gov. Greg Abbott today for his leadership in promoting Texas agricultural products and working to establish a trade relationship between Texas and Cuba.
“Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) has long been a strong advocate of trade and travel with this island nation,” said Russell Boening, president of Texas Farm Bureau, in a letter to Abbott.
TFB was one of the first to take advantage of more open travel opportunities to Cuba in 1999. It has since been part of multiple trade missions to Cuba.
Abbott is leading a business development mission of two-dozen Texans to Cuba looking to reintroduce Texas farm and ranch products to a growing Cuban market.
“We recognize the challenges to expansion of trade with a communist country and are extremely appreciative of your willingness to address those barriers,” Boening said. “The U.S. trades with the few remaining communist nations in the world. We believe that it is not necessary to endorse a form of government or all of its practices to have a trade relationship.”
TFB says prior to the start of the embargo in 1962, Texas was a major trading partner with Cuba. Texas was one of Cuba’s leading suppliers of rice. The organization believes there is still a great deal of interest in the high quality long grain rice grown in Texas. In addition to rice, TFB says poultry holds much promise in adding protein to the diet of the Cuban people, and Texas beef is certain to be popular with tourists.
The U.S. government placed a partial trade embargo on Cuba in 1960 and a full embargo in 1962. However, legislation in 2000 allowed for the export of agricultural, food and medical products to Cuba on a cash-in-advance basis.
Those exports peaked at $711 million in 2008 but have since fallen to $299 million in 2014, according to Parr Rosson, a professor of agricultural economics at Texas A&M University, and leading expert on trade with Cuba.