USA Rice Relationship with Cuba Deepens

Jun 23, 2016
From left: Ruben Ramos Arrieta,
Alina John Mayo, and Ward
Betsy Ward meets with Cuba-Ministers-Ruben-Arrieta-&-Alina-Mayo
ARLINGTON, VA – This morning, the minister counselor for the Cuban Embassy’s Economic and Trade Office in Washington, DC, Rubén Ramos Arrieta met with USA Rice staff to discuss details of the growing partnership between the U.S. rice industry and Cuba.

USA Rice, the Cuban Embassy, and the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture are developing a detailed plan for regular technical exchanges between the U.S. and Cuba to address rice growing, processing capacity, and infrastructure in Cuba and the U.S.

During the meeting Ramos Arrieta said, “I have been able to see the shift in Members of Congress over the last few months from not supporting our efforts to supporting and it’s because of the work you [USA Rice] are doing here in Washington.”

USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward said she’s “looking forward to continuing to grow this productive relationship both here in Washington with the Embassy and on-the-ground in Cuba during our future technical exchanges.  I think the leg work we’re doing now is going to pay off tenfold when the embargo is lifted and we are able to very quickly gain market share through our relationships built in advance and the open lines of communications between our industry and Cuba.”

Efforts to normalize trade with Cuba were thwarted this week by political gridlock in Congress that derailed a crucial vote on pro-Cuba amendments that would have removed financing and trade restrictions for agricultural commodities as well as withdrawn the travel ban.  The House will likely consider the legislation following their return to session after the Fourth of July holiday.