Trade with Cuba
In 2009 Sen. Mary Landrieu joined four other senators to push for more small business opportunities with Cuba.
Landrieu, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, wrote to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner requesting that changes in American telecommunications policy toward Cuba include access to new exports and opportunities for U.S. small businesses.
In April, President Barack Obama announced of a series of changes to limits on travel and gifts from the U.S. to Cuba, as well as the authorization of greater telecommunications links between the two countries.
"As the administration negotiates with the Cuban government and comes up with new regulations, we would respectfully request your consideration to make U.S. small business interests a priority in these discussions," the senators wrote. "Small businesses are the engine of the American economy and, now more than ever, deserve a level playing field for new opportunities in Cuba. "
Specifically, the senators asked about five specific administration policies relating to small business participation in telecommunications activities in Cuba:
- Whether U.S. Small Business Administration and Export-Import Bank loans would be eligible to be used for authorized small business activities with Cuba;
- The specific roles that federal agencies such as the Department of Commerce, Export-Import Bank and SBA could play in promoting U.S. small business exports/activities in Cuba;
- Whether the administration, as provided by the Regulatory Flexibility Act when a trade is likely to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small companies in an industry sector, will work with the SBA Office of Advocacy to seek streamlined rules and licensing requirements for U.S. small business activities to Cuba;
- Whether the administration plans to issue an online accessible step-by-step small business guide on doing business with Cuba under the new guidelines; such a document could outline banking procedures, business travel, claims, regulatory licensing and other relevant issues; and - Whether the administration plans to encourage the Cuban government to support joint ventures between Cuban and U.S. small businesses on these projects.
Agricultural exports to Cuba
In March 2009 legislation was expected to be launched to open the door to expanded agricultural exports from the US to Cuba.
It was expected that US Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Montana) will this week introduce legislation to congress that would open the door to more agricultural exports to Cuba.
"Sixty votes are needed to begin debate on the measure, and Senate leaders said they're confident they'll get the votes to proceed after talking with three wavering moderates, Arkansas' Blanche Lincoln, Louisiana's Mary Landrieu and Nebraska's Ben Nelson," adds McClatchy Newspapers' David Lightman.
Nelson said he remained undecided.
"It is a motion to start debate on a bill and to try to improve it,' Nelson said.
Landrieu has been supported by EMILY's List during her campaigning.
- [New Orleans CityBusiness (New Orleans, LA) May 11, 2009 La. Sen. Landrieu seeks to grow U.S. small business' opportunities with Cuba BYLINE: CityBusiness Staff]
- Trade Finance March 2009
- Politics Today: Senate Still Working for 60 Health Care Votes, CBS News, November 19, 2009