Washington, Sep 6. - A bipartisan group of more than 60 agriculture associations, companies and elected officials in 17 U.S. States urged members of Congress to adopt an amendment that would expand the agricultural trade with Cuba.
According to Engage Cuba coalition, these actors called on the leadership of the committees of Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Senate to include a provision in the 2018 Farm Bill which, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would save 690 million of dollars in 10 years.
The amendment suggested, adapted from the law of agricultural exports from Cuba, would extend that kind of exchange to eliminate restrictions on private financing American food exports to the neighboring nation.
In a letter, the group also asked lawmakers to preserve a provision in the Senate that will allow American farmers to use the federal market promotion funds in the Caribbean country.
Signatories as the Agriculture Council of Arkansas, the Kansas Wheat Commission, the Poultry Association of Kentucky, and Kevin Berken, President of the Council of Promotion of Rice in Louisiana expressed, "We urge them to support American agriculture by promoting a legislation that makes Cuba a viable market for our products."
As they said in the letter, agricultural net revenues in this country reached a minimum of 12 years in 2018, and later fell more than during the Great Recession of the past decade.
This economic distortion is felt by everyone in the industry, particularly to the thousands of small family farms in the heart of the United States. Given the decline in the market of 6.7% this year, we must highlight the importance of trade and open up new international markets, they said.
In the statement, Engage Cuba recalled that, today, the sales of agricultural products to the island are limited to transactions in cash, making that nation to resort mainly to Europe, Latin America and Asia to import this kinds of goods by about two thousand million dollars per year.
According to the text, the United States agricultural groups want participation in an 11 million inhabitants market, which receives a yearly influx from three to five million tourists.
The letter told the members of the Capitol that his support for eliminating the obsolete financial barriers on agricultural sales to the neighbouring territory could significantly strengthen an industry that backs up 17 million jobs in all United States.
He added that U.S. farmers who work hard can and should be the main supplier of Cuba in terms of basic products such as rice, poultry, dairy, soy, wheat and corn. (PL) (Foto: Archivo)