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US legislators favor expanding agricultural trade with Cuba

Cuba, EEUU, legisladores, comercio, agrícola

US legislators favor expanding agricultural trade with Cuba

Washington, Jul 20 (Prensa Latina) Legislators from the United States seek to lift their government's ban on financing agricultural exports to Cuba and advocate expanding trade in that sector.

To that end, Democratic representatives Gregory W. Meeks, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Jim McGovern, chairman of the Rules Committee, support an amendment to the bill related to financing the Treasury Department and its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

The proposal is supported by both parties and farm groups across the country because it would create thousands of jobs in the United States and provide needed food at lower cost to the Cuban people, Meeks and McGovern said in a statement.

The congressmen warned about the scarcity situation in Cuba, exacerbated by Washington’s economic, commercial and financial blockade.

The amendment would help alleviate the economic burden by suspending regulations on the export of agricultural products from US territory and would extend credit to Cuban food buyers for one year, the politicians explained.

They pointed out that given the complex panorama in Cuba, it is the right time to enact a temporary suspension that would provide new opportunities to expand US exports to a market of 11 million people.

We are hopeful that the two parties can come together once again and support this win-win proposal, they said.

The amendment has previously been included in other legislative projects, including the Cuban Agricultural Exports Act, which had dozens of Republican cosponsors.

US farmers visited Havana last April for the Third US-Cuba Agricultural Business Conference and expressed their willingness to do whatever is necessary to improve bilateral trade.

Agricultural exports to Cuba increased 88 percent from 2020 to 2021. The latest figures show that Cuba ranks 53rd in the world list of agricultural trading partners of the United States, confirmed Paul Jhonson, leader of the United States-Cuba Agricultural Coalition.

In 2000, Washington announced an exception to the blockade against Cuba by allowing the sale of food, but denying credits, for which the Cuban Government is obliged to pay in cash for products purchased from northern farmers.

The proximity between the two countries could cut shipping prices, unlike what happens when Cuba must buy from Europe or other regions.

However, the current administration of Joe Biden maintains trade barriers and breaks campaign promises.

jg/jcm/avr

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