AMI, Other Agriculture Groups Protest Denial of Visas to Cuban Trade OfficialsFriday, April 19, 2002
AMI joined with 26 other agriculture and agribusiness entities yesterday in sending letters to U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell; Secretary of Commerce, Donald L. Evans; Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman; U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick; and White House officials Charles Connor and Karl Rove. The letter expresses "disappointment" with the recent action taken by the U.S. Department of State to deny visas to Cuban trade officials. The purpose of the Cuban travel, blocked by the Administration, was to meet with potential U.S. suppliers, inspect facilities, discuss sanitary and phytosanitary issues and verify U.S. procedures and standards associated with the sale of U.S. food and agricultural products to Cuba. The letter notes that this action by the State Department puts all future Cuban food purchases at risk at a time when U.S. farmers are suffering extreme economic stress. The coalition appeals to the Administration to look favorably on future Cuban purchasing and technical visits. The text of the letter to Secretary Powell may be viewed at: http://www.meatinstitute.org/Template.cfm?Section=Cuba&NavMenuID=381&template=TaggedContentFile.cfm&NewsID=494.