The Senate approved a provision on Sunday to facilitate cash sales of U.S. farm goods to Cuba. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont, said that by allowing cash-based sales of world-class U.S. goods to Cuba, congressional intent is restored and American producers will have an easier time exporting during a critical time for the economy.
Baucus says the new provision would allow Cuban buyers to wire payments directly to the United States while the goods are in transit. Congress authorized cash sales of U.S. farm goods to Cuba in 2000 but the Bush administration issued rules in 2005 requiring Cuba to pay for the goods through third-country banks before the products left port.
The farm goods provision is part of the omnibus legislation that funds dozens of federal agencies for the rest of the 2010 fiscal year. The House has approved the bill and President Obama is expected to sign it into law on Friday. U.S. farm groups are looking look forward to increasing sales to a market about 90 miles from the United States.