Cuban Trade Bill Creates Prospective Ag Market

The House Agriculture Committee ended June on a positive vote. Approval of the Cuban trade bill is sure to stimulate the US agriculture industry and put American ag products on the front of the Cuban market.

The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased with the committee’s vote. “We are hopeful the House will expedite consideration of this bill so we can take advantage of our competitive position in the Cuban market” remarks AFBF President Bob Stallman.

Last week, Stallman expressed AFBF’s strong support for the measure, H.R. 4645, the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act, sponsored by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.). The bill eliminates many restrictions on exports of U.S. agricultural commodities to Cuba, as well as modifies other U.S. policies that hinder U.S. exports to the island nation.

“Lifting all travel restrictions will have a direct impact on U.S. agricultural sales,” Stallman wrote. “Increased travel to Cuba will boost food demand in the country, and coupled with other reforms, the U.S. industry will meet increased food needs. Increased travel will also bring much needed funds to purchase U.S. commodities, given that cash will remain the only means of payment.”

Stallman said U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba have increased and declined over the years, but have averaged roughly $320 million per year since 2000.

“The major reason for the fluctuations is that the U.S. is not viewed by Cuba as a reliable supplier because of sales restrictions and the arbitrary actions of the U.S. government to further limit those sales,” Stallman said. “With timely congressional action, we expect this to soon change for the better.”


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