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ND officials eager to expand trade with Cuba

December 18, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Officials from North Dakota are applauding the Obama administration’s move to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba.

North Dakota has long viewed the communist island nation as a market for crops such as dry peas, lentils and potatoes, which are grown in abundance in the state and are big parts of the Cuban diet. Some North Dakota commodities have been sold there in recent years through a humanitarian exemption to the U.S. trade embargo.

Former Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson visited Cuba eight times before becoming president of the National Farmers Union. Johnson says normalized trade with Cuba will open new markets for U.S. farmers.

U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp visited Cuba in February and says she found Cuban officials interested in exports of not only U.S. commodities but also American farm equipment.

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