Daily Focus: US Agricultural Exports to Cuba

Farm state senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND), along with at least 13 other senators, are expected to announce legislation this week that would lift restrictions imposed by the Bush administration requiring all shipments of U.S. agricultural goods to Cuba to be paid for before they were left port. If lifted, the change would increase U.S. agricultural exports to the island.  The move mirrors agriculture industry sentiment, and seeks to build on the opening created when President Obama eased travel, remittance and telecommunications restrictions.

Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has introduced similar legislation in previous years. In 2007, he sponsored the Promoting American Agricultural and Medical Exports to Cuba Act, which would have prohibited restrictions on payments from Cuban financial institutions and directed the Agriculture Department to promote exports to the island. According to Parr Rosson of Texas A&M University, agricultural sales to Cuba could reach $1 billion per year if restrictions were lifted.


Tags: Cuba, Agriculture, US

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