House Amendment Eases Cuba Trading Restrictions

Amendment must be passed by the U.S. Senate and signed by the President before becoming effective.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved on June 22, 2006 a Transportation-Treasury spending bill amendment that would ease agricultural trade with Cuba.

The amendment would not allow funds for the Treasury Department to enforce a rule requiring Cuba to pay for U.S. agricultural products before they leave U.S. ports. However, the amendment must be passed by the U.S. Senate and signed by the President before becoming effective (a similar measure was passed last year but was dropped due to a veto threat by President Bush).

According to Rep. Jerry Moran of Kansas, who introduced the amendment, the rule has led to a 22% reduction in U.S. farm product shipments to Cuba. Since 2001, Cuba has been an important market for U.S. agricultural products Cuba, importing a total of more than $1.1 billion in U.S. ag-products in the last five years, including approximately 406,400 tons (16 million bushels) of U.S. corn and 7,519 tons of distiller's dried grains with solubles during the 2004/2005 marketing year.

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