Cuba’s potential as a new market for U.S. goods is gaining broader appeal in Texas.
This week the first Texas business group is visiting the island since the U.S. announced in December that it wanted to restore diplomatic ties and possibly move toward ending the Cuba embargo.
The four-day long Texas Cuba Trade Mission is being followed closely by the Dallas Morning News, who sent a reporter to shadow the group. The business delegation is being headed by the Dallas-based TriDimension Strategies. Leaders are there to negotiate deals for local agriculture interests. According to a Texas A&M study cited by Myhighplains.com, which reported on the Texas wheat industry’s interest in the trip, Texas ranks fifth in potential agricultural exports to Cuba. U.S. Wheat exports could reach over $400 million, according to industry estimates.
Agricultural trade between Texas and Cuba under a special deal in 2008, created over 750 jobs in the Lone Star State, the study reported. There’s no telling the potential renewed connection with Cuba could hold for U.S. business interests. “We see the light at the end of the tunnel but do not know how long is the tunnel,” Dwight Roberts, president and CEO of the US Rice Producers Association told the Dallas Morning News.
Although Cuba’s known for its communist leanings, an MBA program taught business theory to a number of Cubans for three years through a program started with the Catholic Church and its university based in Spain. The program was closed just a couple of years ago, but there’s renewed interest in the wake of the relationship building going on with the U.S.
By Camilo Smith, La Voz de Houston
April 27, 2015