Virginian Governor set to complete landmark trade deals with Cuba

Posted: 05-Jan-16 15:21

The Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, is meeting with Cuban trade officials in a landmark visit to the island. The hope is that a number of deals can be sealed, and the hope long-term is that this could be the blueprint for enhanced US/Cuba trade agreements.

Virginian Governor set to complete landmark trade deals with Cuba

In a landmark move the Virginian Governor Terry McAuliffe has headed to Cuba in what is being called a marketing mission ahead of potentially proposing a raft of new trade agreements that would see America recommence trade with the island.

The purpose of the trip – to open up new trade agreements between companies based in Virginia and partners located in Cuba – looks set to be a success given that the Governor had already arranged meetings with a number of potential trade accomplices on the island. It is thought that if these deals are deemed a success then this landmark trip could prove to be the blueprint for further US-Cuba trade relations.

McAuliffe began his visit on Sunday, together with first lady, his wife Dorothy, and a number of cabinet and private sector officials. Representatives from the Port of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University and the Virginia Museum of Fine Art will also be interested observers on the mission, which ends on Wednesday. A number of journalists and members of the press will travel alongside the group as well.

He will then back up his trip to Cuba by helping his fellow Democrat Hilary Clinton as she takes to the campaign trail in Iowa, before his annual State of the Commonwealth address later in January.

The much-delayed Cuban visit will finally go ahead after months of postponements and uncertainty. McAuliffe's trip was even derailed at one point by Pope Francis' arrival in Cuba, but he was finally given the green light.

He will have the opportunity to broker deals on behalf of a number of Virginian businesses who are looking to expand into new products or access new supply channels, and these include Smithfield Foods, Virginia Natural Beef and Perdue Agribusiness. McAuliffe will also meet with Cuban officials at the home of the US Ambassador.

Export is a key commercial focus for the McAuliffe administration, with the Governor keen to extend his state's network of partners across the globe. As trade restrictions are lifted by central government and diplomatic relations improve, it is clear that Cuba offers a wealth of opportunities for Virginian companies; particularly those in agriculture and produce. It is believed that partnerships with Cuban firms have already resulted in $400 million in exports during the last decade alone.

"If we can do business with other countries from around the world, we ought to be able to freely conduct business with a country that's our next door neighbour."

Governor McAuliffe said in a statement.


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