Bill would boost marketing of ag exports to Cuba

Published 10:26 am Tuesday, March 3, 2015

ST. PAUL — Some Minnesota lawmakers are pushing for the state to use $100,000 to promote agriculture exports to Cuba.

A bipartisan bill to set the money aside in a pair of $50,000 installments was due for a hearing Tuesday before the House Agriculture Finance Committee. The goal is to identify and publicize emerging opportunities for Minnesota producers and processers.

In December, U.S. officials announced steps to begin normalizing relations with the communist island nation after decades of hostility. It triggered high expectations that an eased trade embargo was not far off. But diplomatic talks between the two governments have moved at a measured pace.

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There are humanitarian exemptions to the embargo for agricultural and medical products. Minnesota producers have shipped a modest amount of goods to Cuba in recent years.