U.S. governor of Mississippi eyes economic ties with Cuba

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-20 11:24:46|Editor: Zhang Dongmiao
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HAVANA, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Phil Bryant, governor of the U.S. state of Mississippi, Wednesday began a three-day visit to Cuba in a bid to stimulate economic cooperation with the island.

The Republican governor traveled to the Cuban capital with a business delegation and state officials to meet with officials of the island, including Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment Rodrigo Malmierca.

During their talks on Wednesday, Malmierca told the visiting official that Havana is open to trade talks with all U.S. states but the Washington-imposed embargo is still in place and constitutes an obstacle to the development of economic ties.

Bryant said the purpose of his trip is to start cooperation within the actual framework of allowed trade between both nations.

"I think that as far as any changes between our nations regarding trade, the involvement of governors and obviously U.S. senators will be important in any ultimate change that may occur," said Bryant.

The governor and his delegation also spoke on Wednesday with officials of Cuban ministries of tourism, agriculture and food industry.

Sectors such as agriculture, tourism, renewable energy, food production and marketing and port activity are represented in Bryant's delegation.

In February, the Mississippi ports of Pascagoula and Gulfport signed agreements with Cuba to boost future business and cooperation.

Port authorities along the U.S. southern coast are strong proponents of increasing trade and travel with Cuba, and some have expressed interest in using Mariel, located on the northwest coast of Cuba, as a transshipment hub.

Cuba and the United States reestablished diplomatic relations in 2015 after more than 50 years of political enmity.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said he will review his predecessor Barack Obama's policy towards Cuba but has not made any new announcements so far regarding this issue.