COLLEGE STATION A recent bill passed by the U.S. Senate will ease a long-standing trade embargo placed on Cuba and allow sales of food produced by American farmers to enter the country for the first time in four decades.
The bill, which includes $78 billion in disaster assistance and other aid to farmers, awaits signage from President Clinton, setting the stage for new agricultural trade opportunities abroad.
Gustavo R. Machin Gomez, First Secretary-Cuban Interest Section of the Swiss Embassy, said the opportunities for U.S. agricultural producers entering the Cuban market haven’t changed U.S. producers still want to trade agricultural goods, but haven’t had the opportunity in the past because of the embargo.
“American exporters and American business producers are arriving late, not because they don’t want to. It’s just because they haven’t been allowed,” Gomez said. “It’s a pity because both have been interested in establishing relations all of this time.”
This and other international trade issues will be discussed at the upcoming International Agricultural Trade Summit scheduled for Nov. 14-15 in Houston at the Hyatt Regency International.
Gomez will discuss the current Cuban economic situation, Cuban trade and trade with the United States. He will also highlight what possible trade opportunities there are between the two countries.
The summit will feature several other noted experts. Kicking off the program will be Gus Schumacher, U.S. Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, who will lead discussion about the United States’ World Trade Organization priorities; Gerry Kiley, European Commission Delegation agricultural counselor, has been invited to discuss European Union trade priorities and issues, and Susan Combs, Texas Agriculture Commissioner, who will discuss Texas’ role in international agriculture.
Pat Helton, director of the Texas Tech International Trade Center, will discuss roles of small business development centers and trade centers; and Israel Gutierrez, Secretary of Commerce for Mexico, will discuss Mexico’s new administration, trade and investment opportunities. Tim Daughtery, Farmland Industries’ Manager of North American Grain, will highlight changes in grain marketing and buyer specifications throughout the world. Robin Tillsworth-Rude, former U.S. Agricultural Counselor to Indonesia, has been invited to discuss infrastructure and investment in Asia.
U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady and Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug are invited to be featured speakers the evening of Nov. 15.
Borlaug will discuss the important and controversial role of GMOs in helping solve the world’s hunger problem.
For more information about the summit, go to http://agsummit.tamu.edu.