Strain Predicts End Soon on US/Cuban Trade Embargo

By Sabrina Rodriguez, POLITICO Pro Agriculture

The issue of opening up trade with Cuba also came up during the session at the NASDA winter policy conference in Washington, with a strong endorsement from Louisiana (hello to quick shipping routes!).

State Commissioner Mike Strain predicted that there would soon be "some resolution" on the question of what happened with the whole "sonic attack" on U.S. citizens. (Seriously, what's up with that?) That could help get Congress moving on the issue of U.S.-Cuba trade.

"We have Russia moving into Cuba, selling locomotives and cars, so trade there is growing and I think it's time that we are there, that our presence be there -- and under the Monroe Doctrine it's our duty to be there," said Strain. "It's a tremendous opportunity for American agriculture to trade. They're right there. It's $2 billion agricultural trade, but overall it's $7-8 billion in trade."

Congress, hop to it: Strain added that there are now more than 60 co-sponsors on Rep. Rick Crawford's bill H.R. 525 (115) to open up agricultural trade. "We must all embrace it so we can get motion through the Congress," Strain said. "When we talk to our friends in the administration they will tell you: 'You've got to get it through the Congress. If you can get it through the Congress, we can get to work.'"