September 14, 2016
Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) submitted testimony to the House Committee on Agriculture leadership, Chairman Conaway and Ranking Member Peterson, in regards to the House Committee on Agriculture hearing on American Agriculture Trade with Cuba. The hearing was held to provide interested parties the opportunity to expand on their opinions regarding opening the Cuban market for American farmers, ranchers and businesses. NAWG also signed on to testimony submitted by the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, a coalition consisting of a range of agricultural commodity and farm member organizations, of which NAWG is a member.
As a member of the USAAC, NAWG supports the elimination of trade barriers with Cuba, because Cuba represents a large market for American wheat exports, and current financing restrictions complicate trade channels between the U.S. and Cuba. The current financing restrictions require Cuban buyers of U.S. agricultural products to pay cash in advance or finance the transaction through third-country banking institutions.
“These restrictions put U.S. wheat farmers at a global disadvantage as other foreign competitors usurp market shares, offering more favorable credit terms,” said NAWG President Gordon Stoner. “It is important that NAWG continues to work with Congress to fight for American wheat growers’ right to fair market access.”
NAWG’s comments on this issue emphasize that these financing restrictions should be one focus of discussions revolving around the economic value of Cuba as a trading partner and barriers that remain. It is crucial that Congress acts to reject any language that would reverse or hinder the U.S. wheat industry’s ability to compete with other countries currently utilizing Cuba as a trading partner.