Agricultural trade with Cuba just became a little easier.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency recently authorized Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to offer direct flights to the island nation. Previously, Texas farmers and ranchers who planned to travel to Cuba for trade purposes encountered extra travel time and expense because only three U.S. airports – Miami International, JFK International and Los Angeles International – were designated for direct flights.
In 2008, I led a delegation of Texas agriculture leaders on the first official state sponsored trade mission from Texas to Cuba in more than 45 years – since President Kennedy enacted the embargo. I learned firsthand about Cuba’s need for agriculture infrastructure development. The trade mission simply reinforced my belief that exporting the products and knowledge of Texas producers is also an effective way of promoting our values about political freedom and market economy.
I don’t agree with Cuba’s political philosophy, and we must continue to take a thoughtful approach to normalizing trade and travel between our two countries. However, I am excited to see how facilitating travel to Cuba for agriculture producers will increase trade opportunities for Texas, and grow jobs for the Texas economy.