Cuban trade trip may pay off

Port of South Louisiana plans agreement

Port of South Louisiana Director Paul Aucoin announced plans to sign a memorandum of understanding with the National Port Administration of Cuba (NPAC) in October to facilitate trade with the country.

The move is the result of a May trade mission to the country that included representatives with the port,  and export facilities, as well as rice growers, shipping businesses, bankers and state legislators.

The tour included a stop at Cuba’s new Port of Mariel, a container port in the western part of the country. Cuban officials also advised Louisiana officials on how such a port could be built at the Port of South Louisiana, according to a press release.

The move is aimed at establishing an alliance to boost international trade by promoting the water route through the Port of South Louisiana and Cuba ports.

“I believe it is in our mutual interest to establish an alliance of cooperation so we can facilitate international trade by promoting the all-water route through the Port of South Louisiana and the ports of Cuba,” Aucoin states in a news release.

Within a few years of the agreement, Louisiana could get up to $400 million in trade, according to state Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain.

Cuba has been under U.S. trade sanctions since it nationalized U.S. companies in the 1960s in retaliation for cancelled sugar imports and oil exports with the country. President Obama eased restrictions on travel and bank transactions earlier this year.


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