Congress approved and sent to the president a final fiscal year (FY) 2012 Treasury Department (Treasury) spending bill that does not contain the favorable definition of payment of cash in advance (PCA) for the sale of U.S. agricultural goods to Cuba, which is authorized by U.S. law. In the FY 2010 and FY 2011 Treasury spending bills, Congress had defined PCA to mean payment before the transfer of title to and control of the exported U.S. items to the Cuban purchaser.

With the beneficial PCA definition removed, Treasury would apply the more restrictive regulatory definition imposed in 2005 by President George W. Bush, which says cash payment must occur before the U.S. agricultural goods leave the U.S. port.

Congress also agreed to remove language from the bill that would have allowed for the direct transfer of payments from a Cuban to a U.S. financial institution to pay for cash purchases of U.S. agricultural goods, which the Senate Appropriations Committee had included in its legislation.

USA Rice had supported the provisions that would have made it easier for Cuba to buy U.S. products. Cuba has purchased as much as 176,000 metric tons (MT) of U.S.-grown rice previously and has the potential to be a 400,000-600,000 MT market for Southern long-grain rice. Since 2008, Cuba has not bought any U.S. rice. The USA Rice Federation strongly supports and is a leading advocate for open trade and travel between the U.S. and Cuba.