Key Topic – Cuba
Cuba – The Obama Administration recently reestablished diplomatic relations with Cuba and is taking steps to ease trade restrictions. While financial restrictions and other constraints have made Cuba difficult to serve, the market is open to U.S. meat exports. U.S. pork exports to Cuba have been as high as $15.3 million in 2010, while the peak value for beef/beef variety meat was just under $1 million in 2011. Lack of private sector purchasing power is the main obstacle that must be overcome in order for Cuba to develop into a reliable market for U.S. red meat. Currently no USDA market development funding or checkoff funding may be spent for market research or promotional activities in Cuba, and USDA has asked Congress for relief from these statutory restrictions. UPDATE: During its June 16 markup of the FY 2017 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an amendment that would lift the ban on U.S. banks and other companies offering credit for export of agricultural products to Cuba.