Senators Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., Byron Dorgan, D-S.D., and Max Baucus (D-Mont., have introduced the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2003, which would remove restrictions on travel between the United States and Cuba.

“We applaud Senator Baucus and his colleagues, Senator Dorgan and Senator Enzi, for their tireless efforts to reopen Cuban markets for U.S. agriculture,” said USA Rice Federation Chairman Gary Sebree. “The longstanding trade embargo against Cuba continues to weaken the economic health of the rice industry and parts of rural America.

“We are currently allowed to sell rice to Cuba but there is a lot of red tape that limits the import potential of this market. Our goal is normal commercial relations with Cuba.

“This bill is another step in that direction and we urge Congress to approve this legislation.”

Cuba was once a top market for U.S. rice, and sales last year to Cuba totaled $6.3 million.

USA Rice Federation is the national advocate for all segments of the rice industry, conducting activities to influence government programs, developing and initiating programs to increase worldwide demand, and providing other services to increase industry profitability.