, Farm Journal Livestock and Production Editor
The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and almost 30 other groups are looking for additional congressional support of a bill designed to ease trade and travel restrictions with Cuba.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) will soon introduce their bill, the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act, and are working to add original cosponsors. The bill has already gained the support of many agricultural groups that see a significant opportunity to increase ag sales to Cuba.
The bill would require ag exports to Cuba to meet the same payment requirements as exports to other countries, eliminate a requirement that payments to U.S. ag sellers must pass through banks in third countries and lift restrictions on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba in order to facilitate closer trading relationships.
Since passage of the 2000 Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act, U.S. farmers have seen $4 billion in sales to the Cuban market. However, market potential in Cuba is limited due to trade restrictions, and Cuban buyers have told U.S. wheat industry leaders that buying from the U.S. is no longer tenable without trade reform. Trade restrictions with Cuba cost the U.S. wheat industry an estimated $40 million each year, according to NAWG.