Dr. Boozman's Check-up
Last week I introduced the Agricultural Export Expansion Act with Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). This legislation would change a provision in current law, lift the ban on private banks and companies from offering credit for agricultural exports to Cuba, and help level the playing field for U.S. farmers and exporters.
Here are some of the highlights about the importance of this bill and our efforts to support and improve the export of American agricultural commodities to Cuba.
John Lovett reports that the move to normalize relations with Cuba and extend credit lines for agricultural products is supported by members of the Arkansas delegation, with Gov. Asa Hutchinson saying that U.S. Sen. John Boozman is "on the right track" with his efforts to extend credit lines to Cuba. (The Times Record, “Hutchinson: Senator ‘On The Right Track’ With Cuba,” 4/27/15)
Glen Chase of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports that Cuba trade would be a ‘boon to the farm community’ and Arkansas produces the type of rice preferred by Cubans. Rich Hillman, Vice President of the Arkansas Farm Bureau, called Boozman's bill “a first step toward normalizing trade with Cuba, which the bureau supports.” (Arkansas Democrat Gazette, “State's rice, proximity called ideal for Cuba,” 4/27/15)
“Although a broad embargo governs trade with Cuba, agricultural products have been granted some leeway, although the financing restrictions mean trade is far from free and open.”
“Short of full repeal, experts said, politicians might find agreement on further relaxing financial regulations, such as the credit ban.” (McClatchy “Farm-state senators introduce bill to ease ag sales to Cuba,” 4/22/15)
The Democrat Gazette reports that “Arkansas Rice Farmers Chairman Dow Brantley of Lonoke said Boozman's bill would open credit options for rice producers and remove a trade barrier with Cuba.” Brantley says there is “financial logic” in the Boozman bill. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette, “Senator pushes credit for Cuba,” 4/23/15)