HAVANA, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Governor of the U.S. state of West Virginia Earl Ray Tomblin said Saturday he hopes bilateral ties will continue to strengthen under Donald Trump's administration.
At a press conference shortly before wrapping up a four-day visit to Cuba, Tomblin said he would like to see the White House continue to build on the "major strides" made by the Barack Obama administration since 2014.
"Over the last two years, the White House has opened up the barriers that existed between the two countries and I feel that many governors and politicians in the U.S. are in favor of moving forward with that," said Tomblin.
"There might be some movement regarding Cuba policy on behalf of the new administration, but I also feel there are many of us who would like to continue the path of normalization," he added.
During his campaign, Trump described Obama's new Cuba policy as "weak," saying he would seek a "better deal" that benefits Washington more.
However, Trump did not say he would revoke all of the executive orders Obama has issued since the two governments announced in December 2014 that they would work to normalize ties severed during John F. Kennedy's term.
The two-time Democratic governor of West Virginia, whose term ends in January, believes continuing the rapprochement and expanding ties in areas like "tourism, business and flights" benefit both countries.
Tomblin also called for lifting the five-decade U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.
"We know the obstacles it creates ... but I think that together we should advocate for these measures to be abolished in the near future," said Tomblin.
During his stay in the Cuban capital, Tomblin met with ministers and other government officials to explore potential trade opportunities between West Virginia and the island.
West Virginia is a small but "very active" state that has over the last few years attracted hundreds of foreign investors, he said, adding the state could export coal or natural gas to Cuba in the near future.
Tomblin is the sixth U.S. governor to visit Cuba since the U.S.-Cuba diplomatic relations were resumed in 2015.