DES MOINES, Iowa--Iowa business leaders are weighing in on a potential relationship with Cuba.
They say lifting the trade embargo would be good for the state's economy.
“They like the Americans and they had a strong desire to normalize trade even at that point, they were begging us to do trade with them. They needed a lot of the products we had,” says Bob Bowman with the Iowa Corn Promotion Board.
Bowman, who’s also a farmer in DeWitt, traveled to Cuba in 2007 to talk about the exports of grains.
He's looking forward to seeing where the relationship goes from here.
“I was elated because I could see where we`re going to have a lot of opportunities for coarse grains, for distilled or dry grains which come out of our ethanol process and meat,” says Bowman.
This is also good news for soybean farmers.
“Certainly it`s a very positive thing. It`s a new market, it`s another market and with the depressed prices we have currently with corn and soybeans, any new market in this environment is important. We think it`s going to be important, it`s 90 miles from our border they should be buying U.S. crops and I’m hopeful they soon will be,” says CEO of the Iowa Soybean Association Kirk Leeds.
The Greater Des Moines partnership traveled to Cuba in October to look at future business with the country and learn more about its economy.
“I think the business community and the people of both Cuba and the United States are hungry to improve that relationship and to increase those trade relationships,” says CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership Jay Byers.
Byers says a lot of great things can come out of a relationship with the country.
“By lifting the travel ban by lifting the trade embargo what that will do is not only promote more free enterprise in Cuba but also to help promote democracy,” says Byers.
Business leaders say industry trade could also benefit from a relationship with Cuba.
A lot of Cubans have shown interest in purchasing agricultural and livestock equipment from the U.S. to improve and grow their farms.