WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture – cosponsored the Agricultural Export Expansion Act of 2019, legislation to remove a major hurdle for American farmers and ranchers to selling American agricultural products in the Cuban market. The bipartisan bill would support jobs in Kansas and across the country by lifting restrictions on private financing for U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba.
“This bipartisan legislation, which would allow for the private financing of ag exports to Cuba, represents an important step forward in our work to open Cuban markets for Kansas farmers and ranchers,” said Sen. Moran. “With low commodity prices and an ongoing trade war, our producers can only benefit from increased market access.”
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, the biggest barrier for producers as they seek access to Cuba is the Trade Sanctions and Reform Act (TSRA) 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 who are able to directly extend credit to Cuban buyers for transactions. This bill would amend the TSRA to allow for private financing of agricultural exports and level the playing field for American farmers competing in the global market.
The legislation is authored by U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and is cosponsored by U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Angus King (I-Maine), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).
Full text of the legislation can be found here.
Item to note:
- In March, 2017, Sen. Moran introduced the Cuba Trade Act of 2017, legislation that would fully restore trade with Cuba.
Optimism is growing that the U.S. and China could wrap up a trade agreement this month. Trade officials from the U.S. and China concluded talks in Beijing Wednesday with another critical round scheduled for next week in the United States.
The Trump administration has appeared to be ready to walk away if an agreement isn’t reached soon. However, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Twitter that he and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer concluded “productive meetings” this week. The South China Morning Post reports that the U.S. has dropped the demand that China halts alleged instances of commercial cyber theft, to bring an end to the long-running tariff dispute.
A deal at this point between the U.S. and China is expected in Mid-May, with a possible signing of the agreement planned for June. However, an agreement doesn’t mean an end to tariffs. The U.S. is planning on keeping some tariffs on China, and China will likely keep retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural products, according to a Chinese trade expert.
The U.S. and Japan are meeting again to wrap up the week in the second round of trade talks. Japan’s Economy Minister is meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Meanwhile, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to meet President Donald Trump today (Friday) in Washington. The negotiations continue to focus on reaching a quick agreement on agriculture and automobiles. The U.S. wants better access to Japan’s agricultural products market, as trade agreements between Japan and other nations have made products from other countries more lucrative to Japanese buyers.
Nearly 100 farm groups sent a letter to Lighthizer this week outlining the market loss U.S. producers are facing from competing trade agreements, including the new Trans-Pacific Partnership, the agreement Trump removed the U.S. from upon taking office. Just last week, the U.S. and Japan agreed to accelerate trade talks to reach a fast agreement.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says a U.S. delegation will travel to Beijing next week to continue trade negotiations, and a Chinese delegation will return to Washington for additional talks starting May 8.
President Donald Trump has slapped tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports in a dispute over Beijing’s aggressive drive to challenge U.S. technological dominance. China has retaliated by targeting $110 billion in U.S. products.
The two countries are in talks to settle their differences.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to Beijing for talks that begin April 30. Vice Premier Liu He will lead the talks for China.
Sanders says topics for next week’s discussions include protection of intellectual property, agriculture and enforcement.