Virginia Governor in Cuba to expand commercial links

Havana.- The governor of the US State of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, is paying a three-day visit to Cuba heading a political and commercial mission aimed at finding ways to expand economic and commercial relations.

Boosting the export of agricultural products from Virginia to the island, promoting closer links in maritime transportation, in higher education and culture are some of the topics on the agenda of the US governor, who arrived in Havana on Sunday.

McAulife will meet with Cuban Foreign Trade and Investment minister Rodrigo Malmierca and will open a business forum at centrally located hotel and he will also toured the Special Development Zone at Mariel harbor, among other activities.

Before departing for Cuba, the governor said that the current mission will further enhance Virginia´s Position by expanding its agricultural exports and that he expected to open the doors to future collaboration in other sectors.

Governor McAulilffe is being accompanied by the secretaries of Agriculture, Todd Haymore; Health and Human Resources, William Hazel; Technology, Karen Jackson, and by representatives of the Virginia Commonwealth University and other local institutions, according to a news release by his office in Virginia.

Virginia, a territory with some 8 million people, has been leader in maintaining relations with Havana since the US Congress approved the export of food to Cuba in 2000.

According to Agriculture secretary Todd Haymore US agricultural sales to Cuba reached about 400 million dollars over the past 10 years, including 25 million dollars in 2015.

According to a news release, Virginia´s governor will reiterate hire that the US Congress must take action to lift the obstacles bilateral commercial relations. He has previously demanded the lifting of the US economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba, since he considers that lifting the US unilateral policy will create Jobs and open economic opportunities for Virginia-based companies, as well as for Cuban products that may be imported into the US.

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