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Senator hopes to boost Colorado trade with Cuba

Senator hopes to boost Colorado trade with Cuba
By Charles Ashby
Monday, August 8, 2016

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., wants to link as many Colorado
farmers and ranchers with Cuba as possible.

As part of an effort to help open up markets in that Caribbean nation,
and help boost Colorado’s exports, the senator has partnered
with a group called Engage Cuba, a Washington, D.C.-based coalition of
private companies and organizations that is working to lift and
trade embargoes on the island nation.

To make that happen, Bennet and the group have created a 38-member
council of Coloradans from the travel, banking, and agricultural
communities.

Though no one specifically from the Western Slope is on that panel, they
are represented through such groups as the Colorado Farm Bureau and the
Colorado Pork Producers Council, Bennet’s office said.

Along with that effort, Bennet is co-sponsoring a bill in Congress, the
to Export to Cuba Act, that would repeal current restrictions on
doing business with the communist nation, something that
Barack Obama has already started to do on his own.

“Whether it’s potatoes in the San Luis Valley, grass-fed beef from the
Western Slope, milk and cheese from local dairies or wheat from the
eastern plains, Cuba will create excellent new opportunities for farmers
and ranchers,” Bennet said. “Unfortunately, our agriculture industry,
the state’s third largest, is missing out on these lucrative markets. We
hope that the creation of this council will help build support for our
bill and open doors for economic growth for Colorado producers.”

Engage Cuba says that the island nation imports about 80 percent of its
, spending as much as $2 billion last year alone. The group’s
president, James Williams, said Colorado’s council could help the state
get a piece of that market.

Williams said Cuba’s interest in business ties with the United States
goes beyond food. The island also is interested in getting help building
a renewable energy industry, and has set a goal of generating up to 24
percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, including
building 13 wind facilities.

“It’s time to end 55 years of failed, isolationist policies toward
Cuba,” Williams said. “Colorado businesses are stuck on the sidelines as
our foreign competitors continue to take advantage of Cuba’s growing
markets. Opening up trade with Cuba would provide tremendous
opportunities for Colorado agriculture, manufacturing, technology and
renewable energy sectors, and support Cuba’s growing private sector.”

Source: Senator hopes to boost Colorado trade with Cuba | GJSentinel.com

www.gjsentinel.com/news/articles/senator-hopes-to-boost-colorado-trade-with-cuba

4 Responses to Senator hopes to boost Colorado trade with Cuba

  • This ambitious initiative is worthy of support. The farmers of Colorado should also involve themselves on improving farming techniques in Cuba, not merely exporting to that important market.

    • The farmers of Colorado will dedicate themselves to selling food to Cuba and getting paid. If they enter Cuba they will take over farms and run them in an efficient way as Cubans did before Castro. that is if the regime allows them. You are advocating turning over Cuban agriculture to foreign companies for the benefit of the elite that profits from export earnings. Cuba needs a new middle class of independent farmers with access to financing and other resources that focus on the Cuban market. that will help the Cuban people. Remember: the record shows that even with all the restraints imposed on the the current independent farmers are 4 times more productive than state farms.

      • Accepting your point that independent farmers are four times more efficient than those on state farms, there seem two obvious ways to make improvements. Firstly, encourage independent farmers to take over under-producing land currently “farmed” by inefficient state farms. Secondly, encourage the state farms to use new methods and techniques that are much more productive, either using expertise from the independent sector in Cuba, or foreign expertise, eg USA, Vietnam, China etc. The poor state of much Cuban agriculture is 100% the responsibility of the Cuban Government, which has the means and the ability to correct the situation. If it does not do so, then it cannot blame others for the huge import bill for food that Cuba could easily grow/raise itself.

        • The data on productivity is easy and widely reported: with one third of the arable land in their hands independent farmers produce two thirds of food grown in Cuba. To as you put it “encourage” the independent farmers to invest in taking on more land they have to be freedom of the restraints the regime imposes on them.
          – Ownership: they have to be able to be sure they securely own the land in which they invest so their efforts on improving it can’t be expropriated without compensation. Nobody invest in land to which they hold no or a precarious title.
          – Investment: they have to have access to investment loans that are meaningful and that allow them to buy more than a shovel and a pair of boots at inflated prices. To invest they also have to be certain of a return on their investment. that means: freedom to select crops and freedom to sell at fair – not exploitative as now – prices.
          – Infrastructure: free market wholesale markets for both the purchase of inputs (equipment, seeds, packaging, …) and the sale of production at fair and realistic economic prices have to be set up. If not: a farmer that can buy just a couple of farm implements at a state shop (overpriced) with the pittance the government pays him for his crop will never thrive.

          Cuban farmers don’t need “foreign expertise”. You threat – as usual – the Cuban people like idiots. They need freedom to deploy their expertise. Russian “experts” ordered Cuban farmers in Oriente to change plowing techniques which led to enormous soil erosion. No more “experts”. More freedom an creativity. More rewards for hard work. Less exploitation.
          The Castro regime has neither the means no the will to “correct the situation”. The means are allocated to the repression (high salaries, houses, benefits, … for policemen and soldiers). The political will to attack the real underlying problem (the ineffective state planning system) is absent replaced with meaningless dogma.
          The regime is starving the people.

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