Local News

In face of embargo, NC working for more Cuba trade

Posted November 5, 2015 4:30 p.m. EST
Updated November 5, 2015 6:04 p.m. EST

— A month after a North Carolina trade delegation visited Cuba, members of the group are working to find ways to move forward in rebuilding the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba.

Agricultural officials and members of the North Carolina Farm Bureau toured farms and markets to get a better idea of the crops Cuban farmers produce and the challenges they face.

North Carolina already exports poultry and apples to Cuba, but as the U.S. and Cuba continue restoring diplomatic relations, farmers want to see more trade between the countries.

"Trade goes two ways," said Peter Daniel, assistant to the president of the N.C. Farm Bureau. "We think about selling stuff to Cuba, but Cuba is going to be trying and wanting to sell things and export things to the United States."

There is still plenty of disagreement over Cuba in the U.S. and how best to move forward.

"The policy of the last 50 years has not worked. We need to open diplomatic and economic and political ties," Democratic 4th District Congressman David Price said.

"We don’t change our policies just because they don’t work. We change them because there has been a change in our policy," Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr said.

The North Carolina Farm Bureau is working with the national network of Farm Bureaus to push for more change, and North Carolina plans to host a symposium on Cuba trade.

"We see some great opportunities for the future, but the island is not ready for an onslaught of Americans," Daniel said.

Many of the island's buildings are crumbling, yet a growing number of Americans are visiting the island since President Barack Obama lifted some travel restrictions.

"Our future is really in the resort industry down there. As it develops and blossoms, they’re going to need food," Daniel said.