NAWG, U.S. Wheat Associates and other agricultural organizations are urging growers to contact their Members of Congress about the importance of passing legislation to ease trade restrictions with Cuba. Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) will be introducing legislation with Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Agriculture Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), and Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) to expand agricultural trade to Cuba and are looking for original cosponsors.
Cuba relies on imports for most of its food needs and, between 2000 and 2006, Cuba’s food and agricultural imports nearly doubled. Agricultural producers in the United States are well positioned to benefit from additional trade in Cuba, but current U.S. policy hampers their ability to supply the Cuban market.
The Peterson/Moran legislation would:
* provide a direct payment provision for Cuban buyers, eliminating the need to go through banks in other countries to conduct agricultural trades.
* revise the current “payment of cash in advance” regulation by requiring agricultural exports to Cuba meet the same payment requirements as exports to other countries.
* allow U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba, reducing the bureaucratic red tape currently required for agricultural associations, agribusinesses and others to make agricultural sales in the country.
NAWG and U.S. Wheat have long supported any effort to ease trade restrictions with Cuba, which cost the U.S. wheat industry an estimated $40 million per year, and NAWG asks all interested wheat producers to contact their Members and urge them to sign on to the Peterson/Moran bill.
For a briefing paper on Cuba trade and its impact on the wheat industry, visit www.wheatworld.org/trade.
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