Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Port of South Louisiana looking to Cuba as trade partner

Port of South Louisiana looking to Cuba as trade partner
Published 12:05 am Wednesday, October 12, 2016

HAVANA, Cuba — Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Paul G. Aucoin
and Commission President D. Paul Robichaux traveled to Havana, Cuba,
recently on a follow-up trade mission led by Governor John Bel Edwards,
the first one by a Louisiana governor since 2005.

Approximately 50 state, regional, local, port and private business
leaders joined the mission, including Louisiana Economic Development
Secretary Don Pierson, Louisiana Department of Transportation and
Development Secretary Shawn Wilson and Louisiana Agriculture and
Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, who led a previous mission to Cuba in

During July's fact-finding mission to Cuba, delegates met with Cuban
government and trade officials and toured the Port of Mariel. This time
around, Edwards was in attendance to sign a ports Memorandum of
Understanding with Cuban officials to denote a ceremonial partnership
between Louisiana and Cuba to expand trade and commerce.

"We want Louisiana to be first in line to any new opportunities with
Cuba, particularly the import, export and foreign direct investment
possibilities that could range into the billions of dollars in the
coming years," Edwards said. "For those reasons, we are eager to embark
on this trade mission and to place Louisiana in a unique position of
leadership with respect to Cuba."

Aucoin said Port officials are pleased to have been given this
opportunity to enter into this memorandum.

"Now we can begin to exchange knowledge and ideas; a merging of the
minds, if you will," he said. "When the embargo is lifted, we will be
ready to fully engage in trade and commerce between Louisiana and Cuba."

The visit solidifies Louisiana as an advocate for free trade with Cuba.

With Louisiana as home to five of the top 15 ports in the United States,
Port officials said the state is ready to expand commerce with Cuba, a
country that imports 80 percent of its food.

The Port of South Louisiana is the largest grain exporter in the United
States with seven grain elevators, some of which have exported 200,000
short tons of grain and flour to Cuba recently under a humanitarian

Source: Port of South Louisiana looking to Cuba as trade partner |
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