According to The Hagstrom Report – the Treasury and Commerce Departments published regulations to ease restrictions on U.S. ag sales to Cuba. The overall embargo is still in effect – but White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest says the regulatory amendments are part of a process to normalize relations with Cuba. He says these changes will enable the American people to provide more resources to empower the Cuban population to become less dependent on the state-driven economy.
Meanwhile – House Ag Ranking Member Collin Peterson co-sponsored legislation introduced in the House yesterday (Thursday). Peterson says the Free Trade with Cuba Act would significantly open the Cuban market for U.S. farmers and ranchers who have struggled to get their products to Cuba due to the cash in advance requirement and prohibition of direct transactions. “We have a ready-made market in Cuba, just 90 miles off our coast, yet the current embargo gives this market away to other countries, putting American producers at a disadvantage. This legislation will significantly open the Cuban market for our nation’s farmers and ranchers, who have struggled to get their products to Cuba due to the cash in advance requirement and prohibition of direct transactions. I have long advocated for legislation to expand U.S. trade with Cuba and the Free Trade with Cuba Act does just that.”