Agriculture and Food

Engage Cuba and Alabama State Leaders Launch State Council

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Engage Cuba, a leading bipartisan advocacy organization in Washington DC announced via a press release today, the launching of the Engage Cuba Alabama State Council to rally support for an end to the travel ban and trade embargo against Cuba.

Engage Cuba has already launched State Councils in the following states of:  Arkansas, Louisiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee,  and Texas to promote trade between the U.S. and Cuba.

The Alabama state council members consist of government leaders as well as representatives from a wide range of sectors including agriculture, business, technology, manufacturing, education, and energy.  The Alabama trade council wants to expand trade with Cuba, a move that will create employment opportunities for Alabamians and Cubans alike.

“We’re very pleased to work with all of our Engage Cuba Alabama State Council members to lift the embargo that is costing Alabama jobs and preventing economic development for the Cuban people. It’s time to end 50 years of failed, isolationist policies toward Cuba,” said President of Engage Cuba, James Williams. “Alabama 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 Alabama ports, agriculture and manufacturing sectors.”

With the rise of tourism and the growing buying power of the Cuban consumer, it can only lead to a higher demand for U.S. Exports.

Engage Cuba released a report in conjunction with  the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC).  The report  highlighted not only the critical financial advantages of expanded agribusiness trade, but also what Cuba would bring to Alabama.

Alabama’s Gulf ports give it a superior advantage as an exporter to Cuba. Allowing Alabama to extend credit to Cuba for agricultural products will open the doors to free trade and benefits to Alabama and Cuba.

“We are interested in growing Alabama’s export performance. Exports create new agricultural and manufacturing jobs and that is why we support efforts to engage with Cuba. This year, the Alabama Legislature unanimously passed Senate Joint Resolution 43, which calls for an end to the embargo,” said Alabama Sen. J.T. Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia Hills). “Cubans need a whole array of goods and services and Alabama’s exports are second to none. We have recognized that restricting American freedom and business has not brought about the democratic change in Cuba we hoped it would.”

“Our focus is to continue to build on our poultry exports with Cuba, which are significant. We further hope that we can expand our trade relationship to include importing Cuban fruits and vegetables,” said Commissioner John McMillan of the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries.

On Wednesday, Engage Cuba will dispatch their Mississippi State Council in order to encourage trade between the United States and Cuba and to end the embargo.

Information sourced from today’s press release by Engage Cuba.

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