Commissioner Staples' historic trip to Cuba a big success
Jun 9, 2008 9:59 AM
Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples returned from a historic trade
mission to Cuba with two contracts signed, new partnerships created and
the confidence the contacts made on this trip will payoff with big
dividends down the road.
"This trade mission exceeded our expectations and was a major success.
There is a huge potential for exporting Texas products to Cuba, and the
mission has set the table for a long-term business relationship with the
Cubans," Commissioner Staples said. "The Cuban buyers were very
accommodating and made it clear they are ready to do business with Texas."
The trip is already producing results; two contracts totaling $400,000
have been inked to sell Texas cotton to Cuba. Additional deals to export
more cotton, poultry and milk to the Cuban nation are in the works.
Commissioner Staples became the first statewide elected official from
Texas to visit Cuba on state business in more than 45 years. The
Commissioner led a delegation of 24 Texans, including farmers, ranchers,
commodity suppliers and port representatives. The group met with Cuban
government officials who procure agricultural products and visited three
Cuban farms and food markets to identify food needs not met by domestic
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas has exported well over $100
million in agricultural products to Cuba since 2000 when Congress
partially lifted the trade embargo against the island nation.
Commissioner Staples believes that number will grow dramatically over
the next few years.
"Cuba needs good quality agricultural products. Texas farmers and
ranchers produce the best food in the world and it just makes sense for
our state to help feed the Cuban people," Commissioner Staples said.
Since 1961, when President John F. Kennedy imposed a trade embargo on
the Caribbean country, U.S. and Cuba trade had been non-existent until
recently. In October 2000, Congress passed the Trade Sanctions Reform
and Export Enhancement Act, allowing the sale of agricultural and
medical products to Cuba.