The National Pork Producers Council is urging House lawmakers to take up legislation (H.R. 4645) that would let U.S. citizens travel to Cuba and allow direct transfers of funds from Cuban to U.S. financial institutions for products authorized for sale under the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000.
According to an Iowa State University analysis, U.S. pork exports to Cuba will more than triple if restrictions on travel and export financing for products going to the Caribbean island nation are lifted.
In a letter sent Tuesday, NPPC asked the panel’s members to support H.R. 4645 and to oppose any amendments to it. Senate companion legislation is pending action in the Finance Committee. The House Foreign Affairs Committee is expected to mark up the bill Wednesday.
Iowa State economist Dermot Hayes estimates that U.S. pork exports would increase by $28.2 million once the travel and financing restrictions on Cuba are lifted. Over the past year, the United States shipped about $13.4 million of pork to Cuba. The policy change also would create about 6,000 additional jobs in the United States, according to a study conducted by Texas A&M University, which also found that total U.S. exports would increase by $365 million a year.
“Because of its proximity to Cuba – just 90 miles separate the countries – the United States is in position to capture a large share of the Cuban pork import market,” said NPPC President Sam Carney, a pork producer from Adair, Iowa. “For the U.S. pork industry to remain successful and viable, we need new and expanded market access, and H.R. 4645 can provide that access.”
Exports are vital to the U.S. pork industry, which last year shipped more than $4.3 billion of pork products, an amount that added about $38 to the price producers received for each hog marketed.