LITTLE ROCK — U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, introduced legislation Tuesday aimed at increasing trade opportunities with Cuba.

LITTLE ROCK — U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, introduced legislation Tuesday aimed at increasing trade opportunities with Cuba.


The bill, titled the Cuba Agricultural Exports Act, would repeal restrictions on selling products to Cuba on credit and give producers access to Department of Agriculture marketing programs that help the U.S. compete in foreign markets.


Also, the bill would enable limited American investment in Cuban agricultural entities, if U.S. regulators certify that the entities are privately owned and not controlled by the government of Cuba or its agents.


"While the administration has called on Congress to repeal the embargo entirely, I think the correct approach is to make cautious and incremental changes to current Cuba policies in ways that benefit the United States," Crawford said in a news release. "The Cuba Agricultural Exports Act would allow our producers to compete on a level playing field in the Cuban market, a significant opportunity for American farmers and ranchers."


House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway and Rep. Ted Poe, both R-Texas, are co-sponsors of the measure.


A bill by U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., that would allow exporters to sell to Cuba on credit has cleared a Senate committee, but to date the Senate leadership has not allowed it to reach a floor vote.


Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who went on a trade mission to Cuba last week, has said he supports lifting the ban on selling to the island nation on credit, saying it would allow Arkansas food exporters to compete with exporters in countries like Vietnam and Brazil, who can extend credit to Cuba.