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Economic Development

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Today's Poll

Do you support amending the federal trade act to allow American-grown food to be purchased by Cuban buyers on credit instead of only by cash?
Poll Description

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, have joined a bipartisan group of senators in introducing the “Agricultural Export Expansion Act of 2019,” legislation to remove a major hurdle for American farmers and ranchers aiming to sell American agricultural products in the Cuban market. The bipartisan bill would support jobs in Maine and throughout the country by lifting restrictions on private financing for U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba.

Collins and King noted in a recent news release that the 2018 Farm Bill took steps to help American agriculture access the Cuban market by allowing funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture export promotion programs for U.S. agricultural products to be used in Cuba. However, they said, the biggest barrier for producers as they seek access to Cuba is the Trade Sanctions and Reform Act’s prohibition on providing private credit for those exports, which forces Cubans to pay with cash up-front for American-grown food. As a result, American farm goods have become less competitive, and Cuba has turned to other countries that are able to extend credit directly to Cuban buyers for transactions. 

The proposed bill would amend the Trade Sanctions and Reform Act to allow for private financing of agricultural exports and level the playing field for American farmers competing in the global market.

Noting that farming continues to be a major economic driver of Maine’s rural communities, Collins and King said the legislation would “open up a significant new export opportunity, without costing the government any money or risking any taxpayer dollars.”