Bustos Meets with White House to Promote Agricultural Trade with Cuba, Grow Illinois’ Economy
WASHINTON – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) was invited to the White House to discuss the United States’ policy towards Cuba. In the meeting with one of President Obama’s top national security advisers, Congresswoman Bustos voiced her strong support for increasing agricultural trade to benefit Illinois’ agricultural economy.
“It was an honor to be invited to the White House for this discussion, but particularly, I took this as an opportunity to advocate for Illinois’ agricultural economy,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “It’s far past time to change our approach towards Cuba, and I’m fighting to make sure that our region and our farmers are in a position to benefit from mutually beneficial, bilateral trade.”
In addition to agricultural trade, the discussion focused on improving the Cuban private sector and increasing opportunities for American businesses; improving human rights; merging Cuban currency; and giving Cubans access to credit to further increase trade.
In October, Congresswoman Bustos participated in a Bipartisan Agricultural Trade Mission to Havana, Cuba, with the Illinois Cuba Working Group and Congressman Rodney Davis (IL-13). To establish new economic opportunities for Illinois farmers, they met with Cuban officials to discuss opportunities to increase our exports to the island nation and strengthen bilateral trade relations.
After the trip, Congresswoman Bustos announced her strong support for the Cuba Agricultural Exports Act. This legislation would repeal restrictions on export financing for agricultural products, allowing U.S. businesses to provide payment or financing terms for sales of agricultural commodities to Cuba.
According to the Illinois Cuba Working Group, Illinois corn and soy exports to Cuba reached approximately $66 million in 2008. However, in 2014, it was just $24 million, a 63% decrease.