It has been well-documented that EU pork is in a crisis. Prices are at their lowest level in eight years and Europe’s farmers are facing some of the toughest times since the 1980s. But could a Caribbean island, made infamous for the deployment of Soviet ballistic missiles, help a pork industry some 7,500 miles away?
That’s what the UECBV secretary general Jean-Luc Mériaux has told GlobalMeatNews, days before the US and Cuba normalised trade relations.
Earlier this week, US president Barack Obama touched down in Cuba’s capital Havana, making him the first sitting US president to visit the Caribbean island in nearly a century. After the historic visit, a host of bilateral deals to boost agriculture trade were established to thaw the once-prickly US-Cuban relations.
The deal was hailed by US Department of Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack as “a significant step forward in strengthening our bond and broadening agricultural trade between the US and Cuba”.
Now that the US gained access to Cuba, Jean-Luc Mériaux said he believed the EU should focus on agreeing trade deals with Cuba to offset the decline of Europe’s pork industry.
‘Window of opportunity’
“Cuba’s culture and values are close to those of many South American countries and therefore there is an opportunity for Spanish-style pork and pork processed products [to be exported to Cuba],” Jean-Luc Mériaux told GlobalMeatNews.
“Concerning pork, there will be a window of opportunity also for other EU member states such as Denmark, Germany and Poland, among others. Cuba could also be an interesting outlet not only for EU pork, but also for EU poultry meat… In addition, tourism in Cuba should start to develop soon and this will see demand for food increase.”
Mériaux’s comments came after he spoke to GlobalMeatNews last week about the EU’s proposed emergency aid measures for the struggling pork sector. One of the issues discussed by EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan, who launched the measures, was to open new export markets following the continued disruptions caused by Russia.