February 19,2008

Baucus Sees New Opportunity For Cuba Policy

Castro’s Resignation Should Allow U.S. to Begin to Resume Trade and Travel

Today, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) commented on
Fidel Castro’s resignation as Cuba’s President. Baucus has been a longtime advocate of
reforming U.S. economic policies toward Cuba and reexamining the decades-old
restrictions on trade and travel.

“Fidel Castro’s welcome resignation provides a new opportunity to revisit our failed
Cuba policies and put U.S.-Cuba relations on a new path,”
Baucus said. “It is time
to get our Cuba policy right for America’s farmers and ranchers – including those
in my home state of Montana, who are ready to sell their goods to Cuban buyers –
and for families across the Florida Straits by beginning to ease trade and travel
restrictions now.”

Last summer, Baucus -- along with Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Representatives
Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), introduced legislation to make it
easier for U.S. farmers and ranchers to sell their world-class products to Cuba by easing
restrictions on travel to and payment from Cuba. Baucus held a hearing on the
“Promoting American Agricultural and Medical Exports to Cuba Act of 2007” on
December 11, 2007, and is working with colleagues in the Senate to move the bill
forward this year.

An independent International Trade Commission study commissioned by Baucus found
that removing U.S. export restrictions would increase the annual U.S. share of Cuba’s
agriculture imports to as much as nearly 70 percent, representing an annual boost of over
$300 million in U.S. agriculture sales.