Coalition for ag trade in Cuba to launch Thursday

Coalition for ag trade in Cuba to launch Thursday

Ag groups team up to support advanced trade to Cuba

Update 1/8/15: Adds more details about launch event.

An assortment of ag groups on Thursday will announce the launch of a new coalition to support advanced ag trade to Cuba, according to the office of Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.

Cramer will speak at the group's public launch event, scheduled for 1 p.m. CT on Jan. 8 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The event will be carried live on CSPAN 3.

The newly formed coalition aims to re-establish Cuba as a market for U.S. food and agriculture exports.

Related: U.S., Cuba Changes Could Advance Ag Trade

Private street vendors sell produce November 12, 2012, in Havana, Cuba. (Photo by Greg Kahn/Getty Images)

"Normalizing trade between the United States and Cuba will increase the ability of Cuban citizens to access affordable food and achieve greater prosperity," Cramer said in a statement.

President Barack Obama announced plans to support commerce and normalization of relations with Cuba on Dec. 17. The move included efforts to improve financial transactions between the U.S. and Cuba, a change ag groups said would help the United States' ability to compete with other nations that trade with Cuba.

Since 2001, selected U.S. ag exports have been allowed in Cuba, though a trade embargo that must be lifted via Congressional action remains in place. Cuban commerce and travel has been off-limits to Americans since 1961.

Members of the new U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba include the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Soybean Association, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, the National Association of Wheat Growers, the National Barley Growers Association, National Farmers Union, the U.S. Canola Association, and the U.S. Dry Bean Council, Cramer's office said.

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