Cuba Business

Republican introduces Bill to ease agricultural food sales to Cuba restrictions

Posted March 27, 2009 by publisher in Cuba Business.

Rob Sequin | Havana Journal

Republican Congressman Jerry Moran from Kansas introduced a Bill (HR 1737) in the House of Representatives yesterday with the title Agricultural Export Facilitation Act of 2009. It is designed to facilitate the sale of United States agricultural products to Cuba, as authorized by the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000.

The Bill has been referred to a number of committees for review:

Committee on Foreign Affairs
Financial Services

The Farm Futures news summarizes that the Bill will “improve the ability of U.S. agriculture producers to market their products to Cuba”.

Rep. Moran states “Cuba is an important market for U.S. agriculture, as well as for manufacturers and distributors of food products, but the actions of our own government have created a climate of uncertainty and have inhibited the sale of agricultural goods. Our unreliable and uncertain trade policies are sending the signal to Cuba that it is easier to purchase its products elsewhere.”

A change by the Treasury Department to the cash payment in advance rule caused payments for agriculture exports to be made before ships leave U.S. ports rather than upon delivery.

Co-sponsors of this Bill are:

Rep Berry, Marion [AR-1] - 3/26/2009
Rep Boozman, John [AR-3] - 3/26/2009
Rep Boustany, Charles W., Jr. [LA-7] - 3/26/2009
Rep Brown, Henry E., Jr. [SC-1] - 3/26/2009
Rep Conaway, K. Michael [TX-11] - 3/26/2009
Rep Davis, Lincoln [TN-4] - 3/26/2009
Rep Delahunt, William D. [MA-10] - 3/26/2009
Rep Edwards, Donna F. [MD-4] - 3/26/2009
Rep Emerson, Jo Ann [MO-8] - 3/26/2009
Rep Flake, Jeff [AZ-6] - 3/26/2009
Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3] - 3/26/2009
Rep Neugebauer, Randy [TX-19] - 3/26/2009
Rep Paul, Ron [TX-14] - 3/26/2009
Rep Ross, Mike [AR-4] - 3/26/2009
Rep Snyder, Vic [AR-2] - 3/26/2009
Rep Thompson, Bennie G. [MS-2] - 3/26/2009
Rep Walz, Timothy J. [MN-1] - 3/26/2009

The text of the Bill has not yet been published.

Member Comments

On March 27, 2009, publisher wrote:

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking that he make lifting the embargo against Cuba a diplomatic priority. Texas food exports to Cuba nearly doubled last year to about $90 million.

Staples, a Republican, urged Obama to visit Cuba and said he would “like nothing more” than to go along.

“I know the diplomatic policy process with Cuba will present extensive challenges, and I ask you to move aggressively toward strong diplomatic relationships that will address concerns and allow for free and open trade with our Cuban neighbors,” Staples wrote in his Jan. 29 letter.

Staples led a Texas agribusiness team to Cuba last May.

Rosson said Texas farmers sent $85 million to $90 million of wheat, corn, soybeans and frozen chickens to Cuba last year as U.S. farm exports to Cuba surged from $430 million in 2007 to $715 million.

Tourists visiting Cuba accounted for much of the demand for U.S. farm goods, Rosson said, but that might not happen again this year because of the global economic recession.

On March 28, 2009, bernie wrote:

I never see my congressman or senators name on thse bills???
Which is telling me not to vote for my congressman Rep. Kotter???
Also I will never be voting for my senator again, who is Sen. Levin??
These politicans are suppose to represent the people of Michigan???

On March 28, 2009, publisher wrote:

You need to call them and tell them to vote for what you want. You might be surprised how much influence a few phone calls can have.

Tell them when you should have your rights to travel to Cuba and tell them why Michigan would benefit by selling cars in Cuba.

On March 28, 2009, abh wrote:

Just for the record, when I look at the co-sponsors of this bill, it appears that they are mostly from farm states.  Probably the idea was to get as many mainstream/red state supporters, knowing that the progressive/democrats will already be on board.