President Donald Trump’s Friday announcement on reinstating limits on travel to and business with Cuba may result in lost economic opportunities for corporations, small businesses, and farmers. The new policy will keep U.S. companies from doing direct financial transactions with companies controlled by the Cuban military. Politico’s Morning Agriculture Report says the opportunity for American agriculture to export more products to Cuba may suffer under the new policy.
The only buyer of U.S. agricultural goods in Cuba is called Alimport, a state-run entity that isn’t connected to the business arm of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, known as GAESA. Paul Johnson of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, says agriculture will largely not have to worry about that. “However,” he says, “if you look closer at GAESA, they do have companies in distribution, logistics, and housing, so the paths are going to cross.” GAESA also controls the Port of Mariel, which is where most American goods coming into Cuba are received.
Cuba has been limiting American agricultural imports while Latin American countries and the European Union have been making recent inroads into the Cuban market.