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Agreement between Virginia and Cuba could increase agricultural exports

Memorandum of Understanding has been signed

By Diego Flammini,

The Virginia Port Authority and Cuban National Port Authority have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to assess commercial opportunities between the Port of Virginia and Port of Mariel Special Development Project in Cuba.

The MOU will help with the sharing of information, including data exchanges, market studies, training and technological information. Cuba and Virginia will use the information to support trade and investments via waterways.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said the MOU is another step in the right direction in sorting out relations with Cuba.

“As relations between our nations continue to normalize, this agreement will position Virginia as a leader in trade relations with Cuba now and in the future,” he said.

Cuba’s Port of Mariel has the capacity to handle nearly 1.3 million shipping containers annually, which could help increase the amount of agricultural exports the country receives from Virginia.

“I believe Virginia’s continued engagement has once again yielded positive results in Cuba,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore. “Last year, Cuba purchased $25 million in agricultural exports from Virginia, all in bulk shipments.  This agreement will help position Virginia to provide container service for agricultural products such as poultry, pork and apples, which are shipped in refrigerated containers.”

Data from the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council indicates that Norfolk, Virginia, when measured in metric tons, ranked at the top out of 14 ports used to export agricultural goods from the U.S. to Cuba.

Since 2006, Virginia has exported nearly $400 million worth of goods to Cuba.

Join the discussion and tell us your thoughts on Virginia and Cuba working together on sea-based trade. As a farmer, are you encouraged by the opportunities the MOU could provide?

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