BILL NUMBER: AJR 3 INTRODUCED BILL TEXT INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Alejo JANUARY 5, 2015 Relative to the Cuban embargo. LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST AJR 3, as introduced, Alejo. Cuban embargo. This measure would urge the Congress of the United States to support President Obama's initiative to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba and to move forward with legislation to lift the economic embargo on Cuba. Fiscal committee: no. WHEREAS, The ability of American companies to do business with Cuba is curtailed by the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (31 C.F.R. 515), which were issued in 1963, that lay out a comprehensive set of economic sanctions, including a prohibition on most financial transactions with the island; and WHEREAS, These sanctions were made stronger with the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 (22 U.S.C. sec. 6001 et seq.) and the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996, which is commonly referred to as the Helms-Burton Act. Most significantly, the Helms-Burton Act codified the embargo and has had a lasting impact on U.S. policy options toward Cuba by imposing economic sanctions, travel restrictions, and international legal penalties; and WHEREAS, Prior to the embargo, the United States accounted for nearly 70 percent of Cuba's international trade. Cuba was the seventh largest market for U.S. exporters particularly for American farm producers, and 84 percent of all food consumed in Cuba was imported from the United States; and WHEREAS, Despite the fact that the United States and Cuba are natural trading partners, the embargo forced Cuba to seek out new sources for its domestic consumption at the expense of U.S. exports and American jobs; and WHEREAS, According to the United States Chamber of Commerce, the embargo's annual cost to the U.S. economy ranges from $1.2 to $3.6 billion and disproportionately affects U.S. small businesses who lack the transportation and financial infrastructure to skirt the embargo; and WHEREAS, These restrictions result in real reductions in income and employment, negatively impacting U.S. small businesses; and WHEREAS, Allies of the United States have taken a disproportionate share of the market of an island that is only 90 miles from our shores and is a natural market for U.S. goods and services; and WHEREAS, California is currently the eighth largest economy in the world but exported only $122,000 in agricultural products to Cuba in 2013, approximately .00068 percent of the $18 billion of agricultural products exported from California each year; and WHEREAS, California's agricultural growers face great opportunities by moving to Cuba to aid in the development of agricultural technology, innovation, and investment; and WHEREAS, California is the high-tech capital of the nation and is well positioned to export telecommunications infrastructure to Cuba; and WHEREAS, California pharmaceutical companies and devicemakers will be able to sell their products in Cuba, a new market hungry for its products; and WHEREAS, California healthcare providers can benefit immensely from renewed Cuban relationships; and WHEREAS, Acknowledging that the embargo has not produced any positive economic or political outcomes in Cuba or the United States, and that lifting the embargo will better serve California's interests and improve the lives of Cubans and their families; now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Assembly and the Senate of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature of the State of California urges the Congress of the United States to support President Obama's initiative to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba and to, with all deliberate speed, move forward with legislation to lift the economic embargo on Cuba; and be it further Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the Senate, the Minority Leader of the Senate, and to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States.