On Thursday, the American Soybean Association released the following statement on the markup of the Cuba trade and travel bill. It reads:

“You have an opportunity within the next few days to help increase soybean and soy product exports and improve soybean prices by contacting your members of the House Foreign Relations Committee.

“The House Foreign Affairs Committee has scheduled a markup of HR 4645, the ‘Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act,’ on Wednesday, Sept. 29. The legislation would remove current restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba, and would ease existing requires for financial transactions, including sales of soybeans and soybean products.”

For more on the Cuba bill, see http://deltafarmpress.com/government/trade-cuba-house-debates

“Sponsored by Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, the bill was reported out of the House Agriculture Committee in July, and referred to Foreign Affairs, which shares jurisdiction. The ASA strongly supports liberalizing trade with Cuba, which offers an opportunity for expanding soy sales.

Agricultural producers in the United States are well positioned to benefit from additional trade in Cuba. U.S. suppliers can reach the three major Cuban ports in a matter of one day or less, compared to the number of days it takes our competitors from Brazil.

“In 2009, there were more than $144 million worth of soy products exported to Cuba. If current policies that require third country banks, cash advance payments and limits on travel were lifted, these exports would be expected to increase. HR 4645 would remove these trade and travel restrictions, and thus increase export opportunities for U.S. farmers.

“ASA urges you to take action today. Click this link to find contact information for your elected officials: http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.shtml. Or call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard today at (202) 224-3121. Ask them to support the ‘Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act.’”