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April 29 - In a House Ways & Means Subcommittee hearing on U.S.-Cuba Policy
Thursday, National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson testified in
support of the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act, H.R. 4645,
legislation sponsored by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson.
have personally led eight trade-related missions to Cuba,” Johnson told the panel. “I
can speak from firsthand experience on the importance of ending the Cuban
embargo and establishing trade relations with Cuba
in an effort to better the U.S.
explained that NFU supports the Travel Restriction Reform and Export
Enhancement Act and commended Chairman Peterson's leadership on the bill. He
noted that the legislation contains a provision to eliminate “the expensive and
discriminatory requirement that payments to U.S. agricultural sellers must pass
through banks in other countries.” The bill would allow direct financial
transactions for agricultural sales to Cuba;
make agricultural exports to Cuba
subject to the same payment requirements as exports to other countries; and
allow U.S. citizens to
travel to Cuba.
though U.S. firms offer
reliable trading partners, quality products and competitive prices, current U.S. policy
hampers their ability to supply the Cuban market. If the United States is not the supplier, the European
Union or Brazil
will be happy to take our place,” Johnson said.
Secretary of Agriculture John Block referenced NFU's testimony and indicated
full support during his testimony before the panel.
January 2009, 13 bills have been introduced in Congress to ease restrictions on
travel, financial transactions or agricultural trade with Cuba,” Johnson said. “Clearly, in
this case, politics is blocking good policy decisions.”
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