Engage Cuba, the leading coalition of private companies and organizations working to end the travel and trade embargo on Cuba, announced that prominent Ohio business and community leaders have joined together as part of its new Ohio State Council. Members of the council, who represent a wide array of local industries, are calling for an end to the longtime trade embargo with Cuba in order to benefit Ohio business and agriculture interests.
Changing U.S. policy towards Cuba could help Ohio boost its agriculture exports, currently ranked 10th among U.S. states. In addition, lifting the embargo would help open up an exciting market for Ohio businesses with more than 11 million potential consumers. Among the prominent members of the Ohio State Council are Dr. Michael Drake, President of The Ohio State University; Jane Campbell, former Mayor of Cleveland; Brad Moffitt, Director of Market Development of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association; and Ronald Richard, President and CEO of The Cleveland Foundation.
This announcement comes on the heels of an Atlantic Council poll that found that 78% of Ohioans from both political parties support the lifting of the trade embargo and travel restrictions, and endorse the restoration of diplomatic relations.
“The agribusiness sector represents one of the fundamental pillars of our state’s economy,” said Brad Moffitt, Director of Market Development, Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. “Cuba represents an exciting new market with more than 11 million potential customers for our farmers. Now is the time for trade with the Cuban people are facing critical shortages in goods that Ohio farmers make.”
The Engage Cuba Ohio State Council is made up of leading Ohioans who each bring deep expertise of the state’s economic and cultural needs. Other agricultural organizations on the council include: the Ohio AgriBusiness Association, Ohio Farm Bureau, and Adam Ward, Executive Director, Ohio Soybean Association.
The Ohio State Council follows the formation of the Tennessee State Council as part of efforts by Engage Cuba, in partnership with the US Agriculture Coalition for Cuba and the American Society of Travel Agents, to build a network of state coalitions to demonstrate the grassroots support of community leaders around the country who believe in the need for change in the United States’ relationship with Cuba.