Friday, June 17, 2016

Boozman Pushes for Expanding U.S. Agriculture Exports to Cuba

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman continued advocating to open up trade with Cuba during the Senate Appropriations Committee’s markup of the Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill.

The committee adopted an amendment offered by Boozman and Sen. Jon Tester that would lift the ban on private banks and companies offering credit for the export of agricultural commodities to Cuba. The amendment is a common-sense solution to the number one obstacle facing agricultural exporters to Cuba.

“We’ve had good intentions behind our isolation policy toward Cuba, but the results have not changed. It’s time to try a new approach. The Appropriations Committee’s strong support of the Boozman-Tester amendment, which is based on legislation I authored with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, is an important step. This amendment helps level the playing field for American farmers and allows U.S. agriculture products to more easily enter the Cuban market. A free and open Cuba is not going to materialize under isolation. This amendment is a step in the right direction,” Boozman said.

The amendment also eliminates a law that prevents any ship that has docked in Cuba from loading or unloading any freight in the United States for 180 days.

Boozman also voted in support of an amendment to end restrictions on travel to Cuba unfairly imposed on American citizens and legal residents.

“The travel ban is outdated and inconsistent. I believe the way you change the world is through personal relationships. If we are serious about bringing real change to Cuba, we need to expose the Cuban people to our democratic ideals. Allows U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba will promote American ideals and free market principles,” Boozman said.

The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved the bill with these amendments. The bill now advances to the full Senate for consideration.

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