The Senate Appropriations Committee approved four amendments related to Cuba during today’s mark-up of the FY2017 Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations Act, including the following:
- An amendment to lift the ban on private-sector agriculture export financing and to end the “180 day rule” for vessels that stop at a Cuban port, offered by FSGG Subcommittee Chairman John Boozman (R-AR) and Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Dick Durbin (D-IL); approved by a vote of 22-8
- An amendment to lift the travel ban, offered by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Durbin; approved by voice vote
- An amendment to allow U.S. companies to export consumer communications devices and telecommunications services to Cuba, offered by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM); approved by voice vote
- An amendment to allow flights bound for Cuba to make technical stops at American airports, offered by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME); approved by voice vote
The NAM sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee this week in support of the amendments.
Since President Obama announced in December 2014 that the United States would work toward normalizing relations with Cuba, the U.S. government has eased some of these restrictions that bar U.S. companies and individuals from engaging in travel, trade and investment. Lifting the travel ban and the various laws that make up the current embargo, however, is up to Congress.
Manufacturers support the ongoing efforts to achieve normal trade relations with Cuba, and the NAM is strongly encouraging Congress to advance legislation that will open trade and investment opportunities for manufacturers in the United States and support those Cubans who are seeking new economic and political opportunities. With a more open commercial relationship, manufacturers in the United States can bring innovation to Cuba’s emerging private sector. Increased access to technology—one potential result of today’s mark-up—will amplify and speed the progress of would-be entrepreneurs who are clamoring to create opportunities in Cuba and transform the island. A recent report from the U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that agricultural and manufactured goods exports could increase by as much as $2.2 billion annually if the United States lifts the embargo and Cuba undertakes additional market-opening policies.
For additional information on the U.S.–Cuba relations, visit the NAM’s issue page.