A bipartisan group of more than 60 agriculture associations, companies and elected officials from 17 U.S. states today urged members of Congress to adopt an amendment that would expand agricultural trade with Cuba.
According to the Engage Cuba coalition, these actors called on the leadership of the Agriculture committees in the House of Representatives and the Senate to include in the 2018 Farm Bill a provision that according to the Congressional Budget Office would save 690 million dollars in 10 years.
The suggested amendment, adapted from the Agricultural Exports Law of Cuba, would expand this type of exchange by eliminating restrictions on private financing for exports of American food to the neighboring country.
In a letter, the group also asked lawmakers to preserve a Senate provision that will allow U.S. farmers to use federal market promotion funds in the Caribbean island.
As noted in the letter, net agricultural income in this country during 2018 reached a minimum of 12 years, falling more than during the Great Recession of the past decade.
This economic distortion is felt by everyone in the industry, particularly the thousands of small family farms in the heart of the United States. Given the decline of the market by 6.7 percent this year, we must highlight the importance of trade and open new international markets, they pointed out.
According to the text, the U.S. agriculture groups seek participation in a market of 11 million inhabitants, which receives an annual influx of three to five million tourists.
The letter said to members of the Capitol that their support to remove obsolete financial barriers in agricultural sales to the neighboring country could significantly strengthen an industry that backs 17 million jobs throughout the United States. / PL