U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) today called on President Obama to lift the economic sanctions in place with Cuba since 1962.
"Opening up conversations and economic ties leads to greater democracy and prosperity for all countries involved," said Rep Kind. "In a time of severe economic downtown, it makes no sense to be punishing our farmers and manufacturers who could be exporting. It is clear that after 47 years of economic sanctions with minimal benefit, we need to change our relationship with Cuba."
Citing a recent study by the International Trade Commission, the United States could be exporting nearly $1 billion in agricultural products yearly to neighboring Cuba if U.S. restrictions on exports to Cuba were removed. A long standing issue of disagreement, open trade with Cuba would greatly impact all American markets, most specifically agriculture.
The study also found that had the restrictions not been in place, U.S. agricultural sales to Cuba would have risen at least 30 percent last year to between $225 million and $475 million. This would have increased the U.S. share of the Cuban import market from 38 percent to between 49 percent and 64 percent.
"Cold War policies are no longer effective. Lifting the ban could mean tremendous growth for our nation, especially for our farmers. Only 70 miles off our coast, opening a new market for our farmers would be a good first step towards positive engagement with Cuba.