HAVANA, CUBA - Engage Cuba, the leading coalition of private companies and businesses working to lift the embargo, released the following statement praising both Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and the Cuban government for signing a series of historic agreements in Havana, Cuba. The Memorandums of Understanding expanded trade between ports of Louisiana and Cuba and expanded agriculture cooperation. Engage Cuba joined Governor Edwards on the trade delegation to Cuba.
"Engage Cuba was honored to join this delegation trip that we hope will further strengthen the relationship between Cuba and Louisiana," said President of Engage Cuba, James Williams. "We're thrilled that the Governor of Louisiana and Cuban officials have come together to sign these historic agreements, signaling a commitment to foster a mutually beneficial relationship through increased trade and greater collaboration in areas of mutual interest. Louisiana, which has led the country in exports to Cuba since 2006, has an opportunity to become a major trading partner with Cuba, but only if Congress acts to change our overly restrictive and outdated policies."
In February, Engage Cuba launched a bipartisan Louisiana State Council in order to grow support across the state for lifting U.S. restrictions on trade and travel on Cuba. The Council, which is comprised of top agriculture, business, community, and government leaders, seeks to lift the travel and trade ban in order to allow Louisiana businesses to regain lost market share on the island and support Cuba’s growing private sector.
Engage Cuba is advocating for two bills in Congress that would chip away at the U.S. embargo by making it easier for farmers to compete in Cuba's growing agriculture market and removing travel restrictions. The Agricultural Export Expansion Act would allow for farmers to provide private financing for the export of agricultural commodities to Cuba. The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act would allow for Louisianians to travel to Cuba freely for tourist activities. Currently, Cuba is the only country in the world that the U.S. government prohibits Americans from traveling to for tourist purposes.