2019 Montana Legislature
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SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 14
INTRODUCED BY J. POMNICHOWSKI
A JOINT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA URGING THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO LIFT THE CURRENT EMBARGO AND OTHER TRADE BARRIERS WITH THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA AND EXTENDING A HAND OF FRIENDSHIP TO THE PEOPLE OF CUBA.
WHEREAS, for nearly six decades, the United States has maintained, through the most comprehensive set of economic sanctions levied against any nation, a strict embargo with the Republic of Cuba, which places significant restrictions and prohibitions on U.S.-Cuban relationships, especially in trade, travel, and financial transactions; and
WHEREAS, U.S. laws and regulations make Montana exports to Cuba difficult and burdensome with numerous federal regulations, including restrictions on credit, that limit the ability of Montana businesses to competitively serve the Cuban market and allowing international competitors to capitalize; and
WHEREAS, prior to the embargo the United States accounted for nearly 70 percent of Cuba's international trade, and currently 84 percent of all food consumed in Cuba is imported; and
WHEREAS, according to the United States Chamber of Commerce, the embargo's annual cost to the United States economy is $1.2 billion, and the embargo disproportionately affects United States small businesses that lack the transportation, legal, and financial infrastructure to comply with the current regulations; and
WHEREAS, Montana farmers and their world-class agricultural products only need access to markets in order to thrive, and relaxing restrictions and prohibitions on U.S. exports to Cuba will present new opportunities to grow our agricultural sector, create jobs in rural communities across Montana, and enhance Cuban citizens' access to affordable food while providing the farm and business community with new markets; and
WHEREAS, the United States and Cuba are natural trading partners, and Montana stands ready to be a major source for Cuba's domestic consumption, which will result in significant growth in exports and the creation of more American jobs; and
WHEREAS, Americans may not travel to Cuba unless they meet certain federal requirements in order to qualify for a license to travel to Cuba, restricting the right of Americans to travel; and
WHEREAS, both Senator Daines and Senator Tester were cosponsors of U.S. Senate Bill 1287, the Freedom for Americans to Travel to Cuba Act, in the 115th Congress; and
WHEREAS, despite the hurdles, many of our citizens have visited Cuba and participated in governmental, cultural, and human rights exchanges and that American citizens traveling to Cuba can be the best ambassadors for our way of life and our democratic form of government; and
WHEREAS, expanding educational exchanges and cultural interactions would create bridges for us to build on and promote mutual awareness, trust, and respect towards one another; and
WHEREAS, since 2008, Cuba has undertaken more than 300 economic reforms designed to encourage private enterprise and small businesses; and
WHEREAS, we welcome and encourage openness between our nations and wish to extend the hand of friendship to the people of Cuba.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
That the United States Congress be urged to enact legislation lifting the current embargo and other barriers to trade and travel with the Republic of Cuba.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Secretary of State send a copy of this resolution to the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and to each member of Montana's Congressional Delegation.
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Latest Version of SJ 14 (SJ0014.01)
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