Proposed House Bill Aims to Increase Agricultural Product Exports to Cuba

sugar_cane_field_cuba[1]A house bill introduced in early October would allow direct to market sale of American agricultural products in Cuba. HR 3687, known as the Cuba Agricultural Exports Act, permits financing for US agricultural products exported to Cuba, and gives American producers access to U.S. Department of Agriculture marketing programs to increase sales in Cuba.

Right now, Cuban buyers must pay for American agricultural goods in advance with cash. This means payment must be made before the products leave the United States. This is in contrast with the more typical payment upon delivery standard where goods are paid for when they arrive at their destination, rather than when they leave the point of origin. This proposed bill allows sellers in the United States to sell agricultural goods on credit to Cuba so long as the Cuban trade partner is not controlled by the Cuban government.

Even with the current trade restrictions, the United States has been the largest agricultural exporter to Cuba for the last ten years. This market share has been shrinking, though– in 2014 the United States was the third largest agricultural goods exporter into Cuba. Opening direct trade with Cubans and lowering barriers to trade (like cash advance requirements) will expand trade and benefit U.S. farmers and ranchers by expanding international opportunities for trade and opening foreign markets to American agricultural products.

This bill is sponsored by Representative Rick Crawford, R-AR, and was introduced October 6, 2015. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committees on Financial Services and Agriculture. A copy of the bill can be found online here:

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