An economist with USDA says if Congress lifts the embargo on U.S. trade with Cuba, the nation could become like the Dominican Republic regarding exports. Bryce Cooke of USDA’s Economic Research Service told the Hagstrom Report both Cuba and the Dominican Republic are similar in geography, population size and high literacy rates. Between 2013 and 2015, U.S. exports to the Dominican Republic averaged $1.2 billion while averaging $262 million to Cuba.
The Dominican Republic depends on the United States for 45 percent of its food, while Cuba gets only 20 percent of its food from the United States. If the embargo is lifted, he added, Cuba would most likely export horticultural products, tobacco, and perhaps sugar. His comments come as President Obama was leaving the island nation of Cuba, wrapping up the first visit by a U.S. President to Cuba in 88 years.