via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.
How long will it take Obama administration
to change U.S. trade policy toward Cuba?
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or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.
Change we can believe in? Florida voted
for Barack Obama for president. Now, finally, will we get substantial
and long-lasting change in U.S. trade policy toward Cuba?
Rice growers during a meeting Thursday in Jonesboro, Arkansas,
sponsored by Riceland Foods, told me one of the biggest issues
they are monitoring is whether the incoming Obama administration will
finally make it easier to trade rice and other U.S. ag products to Cuba,
only 90 miles from the shores of America.
Cuba would easily be the biggest potential rice customer for U.S.
President-elect Obama during the presidential
campaign said he hoped to break with existing policy by
easing some sanctions. His aides said Obama believes that "more of
the same" policy just doesn't make sense.
Obama aides said he would allow "unlimited" remittances
and family travel for Cuban nationals living in the U.S.
Several farm-state lawmakers the past few years offered trade
opening language regarding Cuba, only to see it deep-sixed
by the Republican-led White House. Well, as the rice producers told
me this week, Obama said he wants change, and that's what is needed
in U.S.-Cuba trade policy. At a minimum, rice growers told me, the U.S.
should unshackle export financing to Cuba that the ideologues in the
Bush White House implemented as a gimme to President Bush's brother
Jeb when he was governor of Florida.
So... on January 20, when Obama is inaugurated,
I will start the Change Clock -- not change as in "cents" but
in SENSE...a trade policy with Cuba that finally makes
sense, to give a lot more cents and dollars to U.S. rice growers and other
U.S. farmers with good quality products waiting for a market just 90 miles
The key to an Obama change regarding Cuba, I am told, is for Cuba
to also signal a change is underway. The key, then, is to find out what
Cuba has to do to warrant an Obama change for the better.
The Change Clock starts ticking Jan. 20
This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or
retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.