Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Trade News

American Farm Bureau Supports Easing Cuba Restrictions

Washington—President Obama okayed unlimited travel and transfer of money by Cuban Americans to Cuban family members earlier this week. The Administration will also lend support to better telecommunications with the island but will keep the long-standing trade embargo in place for now.

“We are very encouraged by President Obama’s actions and appreciate the administration’s prompt action on the issue. In this step-by-step process, the Farm Bureau would also like the administration to consider agriculture provisions,” said American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman.

U.S. agricultural sales to Cuba average $400 million annually since 2000, everything from poultry, wheat, soybeans, rice and dairy. With expanded trade to the country, The Farm Bureau expects agriculture sales to increase to more than $1 billion annually.

“Current language in the omnibus appropriations bill aids U.S. agriculture by allowing travel on a general license for those making agricultural sales to Cuba rather than the specific license currently needed. This would ease delays that significantly impact the ability to transact commercial sales with Cuba, which in some cases, have been lost to U.S. competitors because of the restriction.

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