Past USA Rice Chairman Highlights Rice’s Role in Cuba

Jun 22, 2016
Jamie Warshaw
NEW ORLEANS, LA – The Louisiana Álliance for Cuba met here today for the “Doing Business in Cuba Summit” where Farmers Rice Milling Company CEO Jamie Warshaw shared the rice industry’s perspective.

The Louisiana Álliance for Cuba is a consortium of Louisianans seeking to foster partnership with Cuba.  Its focus is to promote education, entrepreneurship, business, and social development opportunities between Cuba and Louisiana.  Today’s Summit brought together companies from across the state with interest in doing business in Cuba from the agriculture, commodities and mining, culture, food and entertainment, and healthcare/biomedical research industries.

Warshaw spoke on a panel specific to opportunities in Cuba pertaining to the agriculture sector led by Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and champion to the rice industry Mike Strain.

Making clear that U.S. taxpayers are not on the hook for the legislative changes requested by the agriculture industry, Warshaw said, “The U.S. government will not be extending credit to Cuba.  The legislation our industry supports is being debated today in Washington and would provide financial institutions the ability to extend private credit to Cuba if they so choose, enabling all agricultural businesses to export their products to the country as a free and open market.”

Warshaw added, “This is a big deal for U.S.-grown rice.  Cuba imports the bulk of the rice they consume and we’re losing out to Vietnam and other competitors by restricting ourselves.  Focus is needed on the economic value that Cuba provides not only as an export destination but as a two-way trading partner and we need Congress to weigh-in and support these changes through passage of legislation.”

The Louisiana Álliance for Cuba is just one part of the broad effort by USA Rice to normalize trade with Cuba on both the grassroots and the national level.