USA Rice and other industry leaders are pushing for the American government to get rid of trade barriers with Cuba and make it easier for U.S. rice exports to get to the island nation. Rice groups are members of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, a group that supports improving agricultural trade between the U.S. and Canada. “USA Rice wants an administrative and legislative piecemeal approach to help ease the current restrictions on trade, travel, and financing, so that Cuba can grow its economy and become a reliable importer of American rice again,” says USA Rice Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs Peter Bachmann. Cuba is a major rice consumer and once was among the top markets for U.S. rice exports. USA Rice says Cuba has to bring in rice from Asian and South American countries. Cubans are struggling with food shortages and a lack of medicine, energy, and fuel.
U.S. Rice Growers Want Access to Cuba