U.S. Senators Endorse Measure on Agricultural Trade with Cuba

Washington, Jun 13 (Prensa Latina) Democrat Heidi Heitkamp announced today that the Agriculture Committee of the Senate approved an amendment introduced by her and Republican John Boozman to increase access of U.S. agricultural products to the Cuban market.

The two senators introduced their bipartisan proposal in the Agriculture Act of 2018, in order to authorize that U.S. trade promotion funds can be used to increase access to the Caribbean country.

According to a statement released by the North Dakota legislator, the amendment would allow the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to use its export market development programs to create, expand and maintain the presence on the island, at no additional cost to the American taxpayers.

Specifically, it would authorize the use of the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program to allocate them to trade services, technical assistance and commercial promotion activities in Cuba.

This change in USDA policy would provide relief from low commodity prices, by fostering a new and reliable trade relationship, boosting agricultural export revenues and increasing export volume for U.S. farmers and ranchers, the text noted.

‘Farmers in North Dakota see Cuba as a natural market for our local products such as beans, peas and lentils, and our bipartisan amendment gives the USDA the ability to build reliable business alliances between producers in North Dakota and Cuban buyers,’ Heitkamp expressed.

For his part, Boazman, Arkansas’ senator, said that agriculture is crucial to the success of his state’s economy, and stressed that promoting the potentialities in Cuba will open the doors to the producers of the territory.

‘This provision is another opportunity to move forward and I am proud to support it,’ he tweeted.

Agriculture Act of 2018, which received 20 votes in favor and only one against the Committee, should now be submitted for consideration by the full Senate.

According to Heitkamp, it is time to explore the Cuban market, and considered that the amendment is a key element in building relationships that help establish a commercial link with the country located only 90 miles from the U.S. coast.

She added that the provision is based on a law for which she has been pressing for years, aimed at lifting restrictions on private financing for agricultural exports to the Caribbean nation, the biggest barrier facing this exchange.

The North American Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, supported that initiative during his confirmation hearing before the Senate, recalled the statement from the legislator.

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