FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 14, 2015
Tim Crowe, Communications Director, 444.9844
Mike Wessler, Deputy Communications Director, 444.9725
Helena, Mont.—Citing economic opportunities for agriculture producers, Governor Steve Bullock wrote a letter to Congressional leadership encouraging them to normalize trade relationships with Cuba. Bullock was joined in signing the letter by a bipartisan coalition of governors, including Gov. Robert Bentley of Alabama, Gov. Jerry Brown of California, Gov. Butch Otter of Idaho, Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota, Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont, Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, and Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington.
“Ending the embargo will create jobs here at home, especially in rural America, and will create new opportunities for U.S. agriculture,” Bullock said in the letter. “Expanding trade with Cuba will further strengthen our nation’s agriculture sector by opening a market of 11 million people just 90 miles from our shores, and continue to maintain the tremendous momentum of U.S. agricultural exports, which reached a record $152 billion in 2014.”
In the letter, Bullock and other governors noted that while U.S. food and agriculture companies can legally export to Cuba under current rules, the embargo imposes credit restrictions, which require Cuba to pay cash in advance for products, limiting businesses opportunities.
“Removing sanctions on Cuba will open new markets and provide important opportunities for Montana farmers and ranchers,” said Lola Raska, Executive Vice President of the Montana Grain Growers Association, which has a long-standing policy in support of expanded trade with Cuba “We applaud Governor Bullock for working to improve relations, and hope that Congress will take these important steps to support producers in Montana.”
Through his Main Street Montana Project, Bullock has made it a priority to establish and strengthen trade partnerships overseas.
Bullock’s letter is available at: http://governor.mt.gov/Portals/16/docs/2015PressReleases/BullockCuba%20LettertoCongress10.8.15.pdf?ver=2015-10-14-112539-137