Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue At Confirmation Hearing Supports Exports To Cuba

Inside U.S. Trade
Arlington, Virginia
23 March 2017

Perdue also supported measures that would allow Cuban buyers of U.S. agriculture exports to have credit extended to them. The administration has not yet made its stance on such provisions clear.

“I think if we can get the private financing done there -- and there's some proposals already to do that -- I think American agriculture both in the Upper Plains and in the Gulf Coast and the East Coast have a wonderful opportunity,” he said in response to a question from Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) about lifting the Cuban embargo. “That's a country that's hungry. I led a delegation there in 2010 in Georgia and they wanted our product. They could just not afford it and pay for it there based on the financial crisis that they were in. So, hopefully we can mitigate that.”

Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) is spearheading House legislation that would allow U.S. agricultural exporters to extend credit to Cuban buyers. Crawford said on March 9 that his bill is gaining support in Congress and is being reviewed by the Trump administration. -- Brett Fortnam (

Farm Journal's AgPro
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
24 March 2017

Several senators asked about opening trade to Cuba. Perdue said he welcomed that country as a customer but based on a prior trade visit he attended, he said the real issue is Cuba’s ability to pay for those commodity exports.

the Fence Post
Bellvue, Colorado
23 March 2017

Asked by Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., for his views on Cuba, Perdue noted he had led a Georgia delegation to Cuba in 2010. Cuban officials had told him they cannot afford to buy U.S. food products because current U.S. law requires them to go through Europe for financing and they have to take "a financial haircut," he said.

Perdue took the moment to note his knowledge of ag outside the South, saying that Cuban exports are important not only to southeastern states that produce rice but to Midwestern states that produce edible beans and that "private financing" needs to be improved.

The Honorable John Boozman (R- Arkansas)
United States Senate
Washington, DC
23 March 2017

Boozman Promotes Cuba Trade in Confirmation Hearing of Ag Secretary

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, questioned Governor Sonny Perdue, President Trump’s nominee to serve as Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture during his confirmation hearing today about the need to open new markets for American agriculture products.

Boozman shared the importance of trade to the Arkansas agriculture industry, the state’s largest economic sector, and promoted Cuba as a market to increase business for American farmers and ranchers.

“We would love to have Cuba as a customer,” Perdue said. “They would love to have our products.” 

Perdue said that as governor of Georgia, he led a delegation to Cuba in 2010 and heard one big problem was the ability to finance. He encouraged Congress to take action on lifting private financing restrictions on U.S. agriculture exports to Cuba.

Boozman and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D- ND) reintroduced the Agriculture Export Expansion Act last month. This legislation would lift the ban on private banks and companies from offering credits for the sale of agriculture exports to Cuba. 

Background- U.S. Food Product/Agricultural Commodity Exports To Cuba

Since December 2001, more than US$5.3 billion in agricultural commodities and food products have been exported directly from the United States to the Republic of Cuba on a cash-in-advance basis as required by the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (TSREEA) of 2000.  

No United States company which has exported product(s) to the Republic of Cuba since 2001 has publicly stated what payment terms it would currently provide if authorized by statute.  

The government of the Republic of Cuba prefers to purchase food products and agricultural commodities from government-operated exporters where either the exporter or the government of the Republic of Cuba accesses government export-payment guarantee programs.

Government of Vietnam-operated Vinafood (1 & 2) have provided payment terms to Republic of Cuba government-operated Alimport of two (2) years to pay for rice (25% to 30% broken).  

United States producers can provide this product; however, payment terms, if statutorily permitted, without the use of United States government guarantee programs, would be cash-on-delivery to 30 days; and for credit-worthy customers, generally not exceed sixty (60) days to ninety (90) days according to United States exporters.