Friday, September 16, 2011

Senate Approves Cuba Amendment

Senate Approves Cuba Amendment
Amendment will allow direct cash transfers between U.S. and Cuban
financial institutions.
Compiled by staff
Published: Sep 16, 2011

The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved an amendment to allow
direct cash transfers between U.S. and Cuban financial institutions.
Currently sales to Cuba have to be routed through a bank in another
country. The amendment, which was sponsored by Senator Jerry Moran,
R-Kan., was passed by the committee on a vote of 20-10.

"Current U.S. trade policies hurt American farmers and ranchers by
making it more expensive for Cuba to purchase agriculture products from
the United States," Moran said. "This means Cuba is buying more of its
food from countries such as Vietnam and China. The change is an
important step to increase American export sales and support thousands
of American jobs without increasing the debt.

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson praised the move by the

"NFU has long been a supporter of trade with Cuba," Johnson said. "These
self-imposed restrictions hurt our own domestic producers and make U.S.
trade less competitive. The U.S. has exported $4 billion of agriculture
goods to Cuba since 2000, and that number will grow with the elimination
of this unnecessary trade barrier."

The amendment will fuel economic growth and enable agricultural
producers to compete on a level playing field.

"At a time of high unemployment and stagnant economic growth, allowing
direct cash transfers between the U.S. and Cuba provides a unique
opportunity to create jobs and stimulate economic development in rural
America. U.S. farmers and ranchers should be able to do business with
customers in the United States' backyard," Johnson said. "It just makes
sense. I encourage the full Senate to pass this amendment in its current
form as quickly as possible."

The bill was voted out of committee on Thursday and will now move to
Senate floor for a vote.

According to a Texas A&M University report, giving relief from the
current regulatory prohibitions on direct cash transfers could increase
annual agricultural exports to Cuba by over $270 million and support
nearly 4,500 United States jobs per year.

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