Business Presses for Reform of Agricultural Exports and Travel With Cuba

Havana waterfront: Cubans are hungry for American agricultural products, but our government makes it difficult for farmers to export to the island.
Havana waterfront: Cubans are hungry for American agricultural products, but our government makes it difficult for farmers to export to the island.

USCIB has joined other U.S. business associations and the agricultural and agribusiness community in backing legislation in the House of Representatives to ease certain restrictions on agricultural trade with Cuba and travel to that country.

On April 12, 2010, we expressed our strong support for H.R. 874, which would remove restrictions on the travel of U.S. citizens to Cuba.  The letter notes that current policies toward Cuba, including the travel ban, have not achieved their objectives and that the U.S. continues to lose influence in that country by isolating our citizens from traveling their as “Ambassadors of Freedom.”  We also highlight the anomaly that U.S. citizens can travel to North Korea and Iran, but not to Cuba.

On April 28, 2010, USCIB joined a larger group of organizations, most of which represent the U.S. agricultural community, in calling for passage of H.R. 4645, the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act.

The bill has three provisions:

  • It would reverse a Treasury Department interpretation of the term “payment of cash in advance” for agricultural sales to Cuba, which has a strong negative impact on U.S. exports.
  • It would eliminate a costly and discriminatory requirement that payments to U.S. agricultural exporters must pass through banks in third countries.
  • And it would lift restrictions on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba.

USCIB has long believed that U.S. policy toward Cuba is antiquated, ineffectual and self-defeating, and sees these bills as a modest step forward in easing existing restrictions on agricultural trade and travel.

Staff contact: Timothy Deal

April 12 business letter on H.R. 874 to allow travel between the United States and Cuba

April 28 letter on H.R. 4645, Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act

More on USCIB’s Trade and Investment Committee

 

Staff Contact:   Rob Mulligan

Senior VP, Policy and Government Affairs
Tel: 202.682.7375

Rob Mulligan oversees our wide ranging activities on international trade, investment, economic and regulatory matters, and supervises a staff of policy professionals whose expertise covers a host of issues affecting American companies engaged in global business. He also coordinates USCIB policy and advocacy work with the U.S. and foreign governments, our international affiliates.
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