The National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council applauded this week's introduction of a Senate bill that would open travel by all Americans to Cuba and further facilitate U.S. agricultural exports to that nation.
The Promoting American Agriculture and Medical Exports to Cuba Act of 2009, S. 1089, was offered by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and 15 colleagues. Notably, the bill would clarify the "cash-in-advance" provision of the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (TSREEA) to ensure its interpretation according to the original intent of Congress to allow for payment in a manner that did not impede trade while also not offering the extension of credit to Cuba. The legislation would also address other issues related to facilitating agricultural trade and travel to Cuba.
"This bill would help to address administrative barriers that have arisen and negatively impact U.S. dairy exports to Cuba in a way unintended by Congress," said Tom Suber, President of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. "The Cuban market holds significant promise for U.S. dairy exporters but has become increasingly difficult to supply within the past few years."
The Senate legislation complements efforts in the House of Representatives through H.R. 1531, which was also introduced this spring. The House bill would also address issues important to U.S. dairy exports such as restoring the original intent of the TSREEA payment provisions.
"We believe that actions such as this legislation that serve to foster greater export opportunities for U.S. dairy products are the types of market building activities that our government should be working on in order to help expand the market for our dairy producers' quality products," said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation.