House Agriculture Scheduled to Mark Up Cuba Bill on Wednesday

June 25, 2010 Bookmark and Share

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) announced Friday his Committee will hold a mark-up of a bill to ease trade and travel restrictions with Cuba on Wednesday at 2 p.m.

The bill in question, known as the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act, or H.R. 4645, was introduced in February by Peterson, Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and more than 30 other original cosponsors.

NAWG has worked extensively before and after introduction of the bill to gather support for it and encourages all member-states representatives and growers to contact their home-state Agriculture Committee Members to urge passage of the bill without amendment.

The bill would be a catalyst of opportunity for significant new wheat sales to Cuba by permanently easing travel restrictions and a number of payment challenges, including the so-called “payment of cash in advance” rule.

The rule was interpreted by the Treasury Department in 2005 to mean that payment for goods going to Cuba had to be made before the goods left U.S. ports – a far stricter standard than for most transactions and one that put a significant damper on Cuba sales.

NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates, the industry’s export market development organization, have long supported on both economic and humanitarian grounds any effort to ease trade restrictions with Cuba, which cost the industry tens of millions of dollars of lost sales each year.

More information about the importance of easing trade and travel restrictions with Cuba is at www.wheatworld.org/trade.