Leading U.S. Business Associations Endorse Cuba Travel Bill

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Washington,DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and USA*Engage today spearheadeda letter on behalf of the business community, expressing strong support forH.R. 874, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act. The letter, which wassigned by eight other leading business associations, urged Members of Congressto pass the bill and remove all restrictions on travel by U.S. citizens.

Ina letter delivered today to all Members of Congress, the associations stated:

“…The United States should immediately removetravel restrictions and allow Americans to act as ambassadors of freedom andAmerican values to Cuba.  Fromfarmers and manufacturers to human rights and religious groups, as well as alarge and growing number of Cuban Americans, the American people recognize theunfairness and incongruity of restricting travel to Cuba.  It is simply wrong that Americancitizens cannot travel freely to Cuba but are not restricted by the UnitedStates from traveling to places like North Korea and Iran. 

“Current policies towards Cuba have clearlynot achieved their objectives. Without the support of our allies and the largerinternational community, U.S. sanctions serve only to remove the positiveinfluences that American businesses, workers, religious groups, students andtourists have in promoting U.S. values and human rights.  Sanctions are also blunt instrumentsthat generally harm the poorest people of the target country rather than thatcountry’s leaders.”

Inaddition to the NFTC and USA*Engage, the letter was signed by AdvaMed, theCoalition of Service Industries, the Emergency Committee for American Trade,the Interactive Travel Services Association, the National Retail Federation,the Organization for International Investment, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce andthe U.S. Council for International Business.

“Itis counterproductive to restrict the rights of American citizens to travel toCuba, and Congress ought to fix this anomaly in U.S. foreign policy,” said NFTCVice President for Global Trade Issues Jake Colvin. “Reversing the travel banwould act as a catalyst for citizen diplomacy by promoting goodwill andunderstanding between the people of Cuba and the United States.”