The 2017 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act/
Agricultural Export Expansion Act
The Cuba Agricultural Exports Act would allow U.S. farmers to expand agricultural exports to Cuba. Increasing agricultural exports to Cuba would stimulate growth and job creation in a stagnated U.S. industry and provide much-needed quality and affordable food to the island.
What it Does
The bipartisan legislation removes barriers to agricultural trade with Cuba by removing restrictions on private financing for the sale of agricultural commodities to Cuba.
If passed, U.S. businesses would be allowed to offer private financing terms to Cuban buyers of agricultural commodities. It also gives Cuban buyers access to USDA marketing programs that help the U.S. compete in foreign markets. The bill also ensures U.S. taxpayers are not on the hook for sales to Cuba by exclusively allowing for private financing, not government-backed financing.
In enabling limited investment in Cuban agribusiness, U.S. companies could invest in the development of entities that produce, manufacture, or distribute agricultural products in Cuba. In turn, developing Cuban agribusiness will make both countries more prosperous and stimulate demand for U.S. commodities.
The legislation modifies a key piece of embargo legislation, the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA), which allowed for the sale of agricultural commodities to Cuba, but prevented private financing. TSRA allows U.S. producers to export their agricultural goods to Cuba if those products are paid for in cash. As a cash poor country, restrictions on credit and financing severely limit U.S. competitiveness in the Cuban agricultural market. Cuba imports about 80 percent of its food supply, or roughly $2 billion in farm products. However, U.S. farmers are unable to sell to Cuba due to the inability to offer competitive financing terms.
There is broad bipartisan support across the U.S. agricultural industry for removing barriers on agricultural trade with Cuba. Stakeholders including the American Farm Bureau and major producers’ associations have a strong interest in opening these markets. In January, over 100 farm groups urged President Trump to support agricultural trade to Cuba.