A bipartisan group of lawmakers last week introduced major legislation in the Senate that would lift the Cuba trade embargo and eliminate legal barriers to Americans doing business in the country. The “Freedom to Export to Cuba Act of 2017” bill, introduced by Sens. Mike Enzi (R-WY), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), aims to expand economic opportunities for American companies by boosting U.S. exports and giving Cubans greater access to American goods.
U.S. exporters of agricultural products, such as dairy, are hindered by the Trade Sanctions Reform Act of 2000, which requires Cuban importers to pay cash in advance or finance the transactions through third-country banks. Although the Obama administration re-established diplomatic relations with Cuba in July 2015, changes to the trade sanctions require action from Congress.
“IDFA welcomes the senators’ efforts to lower trade barriers between the United States and Cuba. U.S. dairy companies look forward to fulfilling consumer demand in Cuba for healthy and affordable dairy products,” said Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs.
Cuba relies on agriculture imports to feed 11 million citizens and 3.5 million tourists who visit the country each year. Past reports of U.S. dairy’s potential in Cuba estimate that American exporters could capture more than 30 percent of the market for total dairy products, predominantly milk powder and whey products, over the next 10 years.
To help open this market for American dairy companies, IDFA has joined the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, a group of more than 100 agricultural commodity and farm organizations, along with U.S. food and agricultural corporations that support lifting the financing, trade and travel bans for Cuba. IDFA will continue to support congressional efforts that push for the removal of the embargo, as well as for free trade between the two countries.
Read a summary of “Freedom to Export to Cuba Act of 2017.”
For more information, contact Hughes at email@example.com.