State leaders are touting a new trade agreement with Cuba that could boost Iowa’s exports to that island nation by ten-million dollars a year. Don Mason, a trade representative for the Iowa Corn Growers Association, says recent trips have produced evidence that even more is possible. A study done at Texas A-and-M last year found Iowa could develop a market for nearly 44-million in corn, beans and soybean products as we normalize trade relations with Cuba. Last month an Iowa delegation and Cuban leaders signed a “memorandum of understanding” that calls on congress to normalize trade with Cuba. State Senator Nancy Boettger of Harlan says there’s a resolution pending in the Iowa legislature to lift the ban on trading with Cuba. Boettger says part of the agreement is getting visas for veterinarians to come inspect our facilities to add reassurance to our proposal to sell them meat products. She says that’s a reasonable request.Theresa Wahlert, president and C-E-O of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, says there’s a range of products Cuba would import that we haven’t yet offered, such as groceries and products with a long shelf life.
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