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Dairy groups support efforts to boost exports to Cuba

Dairy groups support efforts to boost exports to Cuba
By National Milk Producers Federation January 08, 2015 | 2:18 pm EST

Three major dairy producer, export support and processing organizations
joined other food and agricultural organizations in support of
additional changes in U.S. policy to facilitate U.S. dairy exports to
Cuba and permit open travel for all Americans to that nation. The dairy
organizations – the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), U.S.
Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and International Dairy Foods Association
(IDFA) – are members of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, a
coalition of more than 30 trade associations and companies championing
an end to the U.S. embargo against Cuba.

The dairy groups say one of the biggest impediments to trade is the lack
of financing to allow for payment in a manner that it is commercially
viable. They stressed the importance of policy changes that would remove
costly and unnecessary burdens on U.S. agricultural exporters by
allowing payment to pass from Cuba directly to U.S. banks in place of
the current requirement that payments be routed through banks in other
countries.

Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF, urged members of Congress to
seek changes in policy that would remove travel restrictions and reform
financing rules for U.S. food products destined for Cuba. “NMPF believes
that unilateral U.S. government actions should not hinder U.S. dairy
exporters from selling their products to any nation,” said Mulhern. “We
look forward to expanding our ability to more easily provide the Cuban
people and those Americans wishing to travel to Cuba with the nutritious
and safe foods that we produce in such abundance here in the United States.”

“Right now, the U.S. has been forced to largely cede this neighboring
market to our competitors,” added Tom Suber, president of USDEC. “Cuba
has been importing approximately $200 million worth of dairy products in
recent years, but virtually none of that has come from our exporters due
to the restrictions they face in trading with Cuba.”

“Cuba is a natural market for IDFA members, and we look forward to
further opening that market for U.S. dairy products,” said Connie
Tipton, president and CEO of IDFA.

In addition to the embargo’s financial provisions, the three
organizations said lifting travel restrictions could help U.S.
agricultural exports by allowing exporters to more easily conduct
business with Cuba and spurring greater demand for U.S. agricultural
products in Cuba.

Members of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba are the American Farm
Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, Corn Refiners
Association, Illinois Cuba Working Group, Illinois Soybean Growers,
Illinois Farm Bureau, International Dairy Foods Association, National
Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Association of
Wheat Growers, National Barley Growers Association, National Chicken
Council, National Corn Growers Association, National Council of Farmer
Cooperatives, National Farmers Union, National Grain and Feed
Association, National Milk Producers Federation, National Oilseed
Processors Association, National Sorghum Producers, National Turkey
Federation, North American Export Grain Association, North American Meat
Institute, Soyfoods Association of North America, United Soybean Export
Council, U.S. Canola Association, U.S. Dairy Export Council, U.S. Dry
Bean Council, U.S. Wheat Associates, USA Rice Federation, Smithfield
Foods, Chicago Foods International, Cargill and CoBank.

Source: Dairy groups support efforts to boost exports to Cuba | Dairy
Herd Management –
http://www.dairyherd.com/news/dairy-groups-support-efforts-boost-exports-cuba

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