Gov. Asa Hutchinson is asking leaders in Congress to ease credit restrictions on Cuba. It follows a three-day trade mission to the communist island by the governor and a delegation of state business leaders in September who hope to open new markets for Arkansas products.
Because of restrictions long imposed on Cuba, exports trade deals must be cash based. In letters to Republican and Democratic leadership in the U.S. House and Senate Tuesday, Hutchinson said “Congress can support enhanced livelihoods for Americans” by advancing legislation sponsored by Congressman Rick Crawford and Senator John Boozman, both of Arkansas.
Cuba has long been eyed as an untapped market by many Arkansas businesses, especially agricultural.
The letters were sent to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, both Republicans, along with Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi who lead the Democratic members.
Gov. Hutchinson said in the letters:
As Cuba recognizes benefits from eased restrictions, we must be able to similarly recognize benefits for Americans. In this area, Congress has an important role to play. The current cash-in-advance requirement limits a potential market of nearly $40 Million for Arkansas products alone. Allowing flexibility in credit extension is an important next step, and Congress can support enhanced livelihoods for Americans by moving the legislation cosponsored by Congressman Rick Crawford (H.R. 3687) and Senator John Boozman (S.1049), which provide financial flexibility to sell American commodities to Cuba.