(Feb. 12, 2015)

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106

WASHINGTON (Feb. 12, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson praised Senators Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., on today’s introduction of the Freedom to Export to Cuba Act of 2015, a bipartisan bill in the U.S. Senate that would modernize U.S. policy towards Cuba and boost opportunities for American family farmers, ranchers and rural communities.

“The Freedom to Export to Cuba Act of 2015 will lift the failed trade embargo and boost U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba,” said Johnson. “Breaking down trade barriers is necessary to provide U.S. family farmers with increased market access and opportunities for trade in Cuba, a market of 11 million people just 90 miles away from American shores.”

Johnson noted that the bill would also remove financial restrictions that currently create barriers to trading with Cuba, including allowing U.S. banks to extend credit to Cuban buyers.

“The financial restrictions currently in place prevent normal business relationships from developing between the U.S. and Cuba,” said Johnson. “Extending credit to Cuban buyers allows for the purchasing of American farm goods, auto parts, and other products that American family farmers, ranchers and rural communities already produce and are eager to sell.”

Johnson also noted that the bill would remove restrictions on direct shipping between Cuban and American ports. “This restriction is costly and an unnecessary trade barrier,” said Johnson. “It slows down the movement of agricultural products from the U.S. to Cuba, making trade very difficult.”

“The Cuban embargo has made no sense for a long time. This bill addresses and removes the barriers and restrictions that have failed American agriculture and the Cuban people for over 50 years.”

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.


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