NFTC, USA*Engage Urge House Agriculture Committee to Approve Bill to Lift Cuba Travel Restrictions

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Washington, DC – On eve of tomorrow's House Agriculture Committee markup of H.R. 4645, the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act, the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and USA*Engage today sent a letter to all members of the committee to urge them to support the bill. NFTC and USA*Engage advocated for the legislation which would lift restrictions on travel by American citizens to Cuba and U.S. agricultural and humanitarian exports to the country. The associations wrote:

"H.R. 4645 represents a bipartisan effort to remove self-imposed and counterproductive barriers to American citizens, farmers and businesses to humanitarian trade with and travel to Cuba. The legislation would reverse the controversial and restrictive "payment of cash in advance" rule governing U.S.exports to Cuba, eliminate an expensive and unnecessary requirement that payments to U.S. agricultural sellers must pass through banks in third countries and lift restrictions on travel by American citizens to Cuba…The Committee mark up on Wednesday will likely be one of the only opportunities this year to vote to liberalize trade and encourage U.S. engagement in the world."

"Members of the Agriculture Committee have a golden opportunity to vote for a bill that helps American farmers,businesses and citizens, as well as the Cuban people," said NFTC Vice President for Global Trade Issues Jake Colvin. "We commend Chairman Peterson for his leadership on fixing America's relationship with Cuba and hope that Members of the Committee will support the Chairman on Wednesday."

The letter notes that, should the bill come to the floor, members' votes will be included in this year's NFTC/USA*Engage Congressional scorecard.

For a copy of the letter, please click here.