At Agriculture Committee Hearing, Bustos Pushes for Trade with Cuba to Strengthen Illinois’ Agriculture Economy

WASHINGTON – Today, at a House Agriculture Committee hearing, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) continued to push for legislation that would help Illinois’ farmers more easily export their agriculture products to Cuba. The hearing today focused on a piece of legislation that Congresswoman Bustos strongly supports, the Cuba Agriculture Exports Act.

“Today’s Agriculture Committee hearing was a step in the right direction for Illinois farmers, and I am hopeful that we can move forward with a vote on this legislation so we can cut the red tape and barriers facing farmers and producers in our region,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “By providing Cubans with access to the standard credit terms offered by virtually every other nation in the world, we can significantly grow our region’s agricultural exports, move toward normalizing relations with Cuba and strengthen our 21st century heartland.”

Under current law, US producers are permitted to export agricultural commodities to Cuba. However, restrictions on financing and marketing harm US competitiveness in the Cuban market and limit export potential. The Cuba Agricultural Exports Act would repeal restrictions on export financing and give producers access to Department of Agriculture marketing programs that help the US compete in foreign markets. Further, this legislation enables limited American investment in Cuban agribusinesses, as long as US regulators certify the entity is privately-owned and not controlled by the Government of Cuba, or its agents.

In March, Congresswoman Bustos visited Cuba as part of President Obama’s historic delegation and highlighted the new economic opportunities this relationship could mean for Illinois’ farmers and manufacturers. She also previously visited Cuba with Congressman Rodney Davis as part of a bipartisan agricultural trade mission to establish new economic development and export opportunities for Illinois farmers.