A delegation of 40 business people from the southern U.S. state of Louisiana, led by Governor John Bel Edwards, and representatives from Cuban state enterprises and ministries met yesterday, October 4, in Havana, to identify possible opportunities for trade and investment.
Discussion focused on agriculture and transportation, and concluded with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Cuba’s Agricultural Enterprise Group and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, as well as one between authorities at the ports of New Orleans and Lake Charles and Cuba’s National Port Administration.
The Governor highlighted opportunities opened up by the signing of the documents, which will allow for the exploration of a variety of possibilities for trade.
He referred to the importance of ending the blockade imposed by the U.S. on Cuba, describing it as an obstacle to continuing work between Cuba and his state which began last July, when an advance team from his office visited the island.
María de la Luz B’Hamel, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment’s director for North America, said that the encounter contributed to identifying potential and provided an ideal opportunity to share information with one of the U.S. states closest to Cuba, and one which has been an important provider of foodstuffs despite the restrictions implied by the blockade – the principal obstacle to expanding trade, she emphasized.
The delegation will be in Cuba through Friday the 7th. Plans include a visit to the Mariel Special Development Zone, as well as meetings with Cuban authorities at the ministries of Public Health, Foreign Trade, and Agriculture.