The groups stated in a letter that focus should be on the economic value Cuba provides as a trading partner and breaking down the barriers that would allow for mutually beneficial commerce.
“As you are well aware, U.S. agricultural and food products can be exported to Cuba for humanitarian reasons under the Trade Sanctions Reform Act of 2000 (TSRA),” the letter states.
“While TSRA opened the channel for shipping agricultural commodities and food products to Cuba, restrictions on financing those sales have made it difficult to compete with our foreign competitors in the Cuban market.”
The groups said that while the normalization process between the U.S. and Cuba began in December 2014 and improvements to Cuba-related regulations have allowed other industries to explore business opportunities, agriculture is at a unique disadvantage due to restrictions of TSRA.
“As legislation is considered during the remainder of this Congress, we urge you to reject any language that would reverse any of the critical progress we’ve made toward a more productive relationship with Cuba,” the letter states.
The groups concluded that while net farm income saw one of the biggest drops since the 1920s, now is the time to expand agricultural trade and provide the industry with the tools they need.