Moran, Klobuchar, Leahy introduce Cuba trade bill |

Moran, Klobuchar, Leahy introduce Cuba trade bill

Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., last week introduced bipartisan legislation to lift the Cuba trade embargo.

The Freedom to Export to Cuba Act would repeal the current legal restrictions against doing business with Cuba, including the original 1961 authorization for establishing the trade embargo; subsequent laws that required enforcement of the embargo; and other restrictive statutes that prohibit transactions between U.S.-owned or controlled firms and Cuba and limitations on direct shipping between U.S. and Cuban ports. It would not repeal portions of law that address human rights or property claims against the Cuban government.

“The unilateral trade embargo on Cuba blocks our own farmers, ranchers and manufacturers from selling into a market only 90 miles from our shoreline, while foreign competitors such as China benefit at our expense,” said Moran.

“This legislation will expand market opportunities for U.S. producers by allowing them to compete on a level playing field with other countries. It is time to amend our own laws to give U.S. producers fair access to market to consumers in Cuba.”

“Instead of looking to the future, U.S.-Cuba policy has been defined for far too long by conflicts of the past,” said Klobuchar. “As we work to rebuild our economy following the pandemic, lifting the trade embargo will open the door to a large export market and create jobs in the U.S. It’s time to turn the page on the failed policy of isolation by passing our bipartisan legislation to end the embargo once and for all.”

“This bill would do away with a misguided, failed policy of unilateral sanctions that harms the Cuban people and shortchanges American companies and American workers,” said Leahy. “It would never pass Congress today, but a tiny, vocal minority stubbornly opposes its demise. The consequence, besides blocking U.S. exports and income for America’s farmers and manufacturers, is that our competitors are reaping the benefits of our shortsightedness. It should be debated and voted on in the Senate.”

The senators noted that U.S. International Trade Commission found that if restrictions on trade with Cuba had been lifted, exports like wheat, rice, corn and soybeans could increase by 166 percent within five years to a total of about $800 million.

The National Farmers Union noted this week that it has long supported efforts to normalize the United State’s relationship with Cuba, since doing so would create new markets for American farmers and ranchers.

When the previous administration reversed progress towards eliminating trade barriers, the organization said the decision “sets us in a backwards trajectory, moving away from increasing market share in a country of 11 million people just 90 miles away from U.S. shores.”

The legislation has also been endorsed by Engage Cuba, the Washington Office on Latin America, and the Latin America Working Group, the senators said.


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