House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) has introduced legislation to expand U.S. agriculture exports to Cuba. This bipartisan bill, H.R. 4645, the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act, is co-sponsored by 30 other members of Congress, including U.S. Reps Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO).

"Helping feed Cuba is good for the U.S. economy and for the Cuban people,” says Peterson. “This bill increases the ability of our farmers to sell their products to Cuba just like they do with our other trading partners.

"U.S. producers are the closest suppliers that can help meet the food and agriculture needs of the Cuban people. Opportunities to sell to paying customers in Cuba have been hindered by bureaucratic red tape and by arbitrary prohibitions on the ability of U.S.

"U.S. producers are the closest suppliers that can help meet the food and agriculture needs of the Cuban people. Opportunities to sell to paying customers in Cuba have been hindered by bureaucratic red tape and by arbitrary prohibitions on the ability of U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba. This bill cuts the red tape and allows that trade and travel to happen."

The Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act would eliminate both the need to go through banks in other countries to conduct agricultural trades and the accompanying fees those banks charge. The bill would also require agricultural exports to Cuba to meet the same payment requirements as exports to other countries, which means payment would be required when the title of the shipment changes hands, not in advance.

Finally, the bill would allow U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba, reducing the bureaucratic red tape currently required for individuals to travel to Cuba to facilitate new agriculture sales, the representatives say.