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President Obama has set a new course to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba, including the sale and export of goods.
The U.S. Grains Council and the National Corn Growers Association recently sent a joint officer's mission to Cuba. Grains Council Chairman Ron Gray and others were looking at potential trade markets the U.S. could fulfill.
Gray says the mission had two primary focuses: to interact with government officials and to look at agricultural operations in Cuba. He says the trip to Cuba showed him the Cuban people feel strongly about re-engaging with the U.S. as a trading partner.
He says, "They're a very creative and entrepreneurial group of people and they do know how to seek out opportunities and seek out marketing strategies and would really like the opportunity to engage and trade with the United States at a lot higher level and a lot more economic interaction between the two countries."
Gray says the Grains Council will be looking for more opportunities to expand trade with Cuba.
He points to poultry production there, which he says isn't the most optimized, "We think that we could create a better production system for them, or help them create a production system that would allow for a higher utilization of grain of corn, import corn from the U.S. into their diet of their poultry industry and thereby create a market by which we would be selling into Cuba."
Gray says a concern is Brazil, which has an interest and investment into Cuba port facilities and could start marketing to the Caribbean. He says lifting the trade embargo could bring those markets to the forefront of U.S. agriculture.