The Advertiser/Associated Press
BATON ROUGE — Critics of the United States’ travel and trade ban with Cuba say ending the trade embargo could boost Louisiana’s economy by opening up major agriculture, petrochemical and tourism markets.
James Williams, president of Engage Cuba, a coalition of businesses and organizations that wants to end the ban, touted the possible trade benefits before a news conference the coalition held Thursday to launch Engage Cuba’s Louisiana State Council.
Williams says that prior to the embargo, New Orleans had been the most significant port trading with Cuba because of the large amount of rice Louisiana produces and the high quantities of rice that Cubans consume.
Williams says Cuba imports $2 billion worth of agricultural goods a year, with soy and rice accounting for $500 million of the total.