Chamber Welcomes Bill to Ease Farm, Medical Sales to Cuba

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 - 8:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The United States Chamber of Commerce today welcomed the introduction of the Promoting American Agricultural and Medical Exports to Cuba Act by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY), and Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO).

"This bipartisan bill is a good step toward fixing a failed policy," said R. Bruce Josten, the Chamber's executive vice president for government affairs. "The U.S. embargo on Cuba has made a martyr out of a tyrant and helps prop up the Cuban regime. Cuba's poverty is the direct result of a half century of Marxist mismanagement, but the embargo allows the Castro brothers to blame it on Washington."

In 2000, Congress approved a law that permits U.S. food and medical exports to the island, though it requires farmers to finance sales through third-country banks. The bill introduced today would cut through the red tape that limits these sales and allow U.S. private financing.

Also, regulations today limit Cuban-Americans with close family members still on the island to just one visit every three years. The bill would eliminate these and other restrictions on travel to Cuba.

"It's time for American policy to catch up with our values and common sense," said Josten. "The U.S. national interest cannot be served by throwing regulatory hurdles in the way of legal exports of farm and medical goods to Cuba."

The U.S. Chamber is the world's largest business federation, representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

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