WASHINGTON (Sept. 15, 2011) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement after the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amendment to allow direct cash transfers between U.S. and Cuban financial institutions by a vote of 20-10:
“NFU is encouraged that the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the amendment that would allow U.S. and Cuban financial institutions to directly transfer payments to each other. Currently those payments must be routed through a financial institution in another country, leading to additional fees and complications.
“NFU has long been a supporter of trade with Cuba. These self-imposed restrictions hurt our own domestic producers and make U.S. trade less competitive. The U.S. has exported $4 billion of agriculture goods to Cuba since 2000, and that number will grow with the elimination of this unnecessary trade barrier.
“At a time of high unemployment and stagnant economic growth, allowing direct cash transfers between the U.S. and Cuba provides a unique opportunity to create jobs and stimulate economic development in rural America. U.S. farmers and ranchers should be able to do business with customers in the United States’ backyard. It just makes sense. I encourage the full Senate to pass this amendment in its current form as quickly as possible.”