Sen. Amy Klobuchar says the Cuba market is ripe for increased exports from Minnesota farms and businesses.
The Democratic senator was part of a Senate delegation visiting the island nation this week to talk about expanding trade relationships. She is co-sponsoring legislation that would relax restrictions against doing business with Cuba and lift a travel ban.
Klobuchar says she was struck by the number of small businesses eager to do trade. She said Minnesota could be sending more pork, poultry, corn and soybeans to Cuba, along with farm machinery and perhaps renewable energy technology.
Klobuchar says Minnesota could easily double its $20 million in annual agricultural exports if restrictions were lifted.
Klobuchar’s trip was one of several by Minnesota interests. Earlier this week, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman returned from a five-day trip to Cuba. He was part of a 40-member delegation of public officials and private sector representatives who visited the island to discuss U.S.-Cuba relations and to expand business, commerce and tourism opportunities for their cities.
The trip was a good introduction for U.S. cities to begin forging partnerships with cities across the globe, said Tom Martin, spokesman for the National League of Cities.
In May, the Minnesota Orchestra will be the first from the United States to perform in Cuba.
CEO and President Kevin Smith informed the musicians last week that they will play two concerts at the Cubadisco Festival in mid-May.
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