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  December 7th, 2015 | Written by

World Trade Center Kentucky Led Exploratory Mission to Cuba

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  • Developments in U.S.-Cuba relations “a clear signal to begin laying the groundwork for future trade with Cuba.”
  • Kentucky group’s itinerary in Cuba included visits with the Mariel Port of Havana and with local entrepreneurs.
  • Cuba imports over 80 percent of its food.

Three days after the American flag was raised over the U.S. Embassy in Cuba after 54 years last August, the World Trade Center Kentucky announced it would lead a mission of local businesses to explore opportunities on the island.

The trip took place over five days in late October and was designed to establish connections for Kentucky businesses for future endeavors, specifically companies in the automotive, medical, agriculture or education fields.

“Our leadership viewed this historic event as a clear signal to begin laying the groundwork for future trade with Cuba now and in the years ahead,” said Zachary Scott, new board chairman of The World Trade Center Kentucky’s (WTC-KY). “Kentucky will be one of the top ten states in the U.S. to get feet on the ground in Cuba and evaluate the potential opportunities.”

Nineteen delegates from Kentucky participated in the mission. The group’s itinerary included visits with the recently opened U.S. Embassy in Havana, the Cuban Chamber of Commerce, and the Mariel Port of Havana. Several discussions with local entrepreneurs and private business owners regarding the Cuban economy and future opportunities also took place.

“This mission is designed to provide our delegates with an on-the-ground perspective and allow them to fully evaluate the potential opportunities for Kentucky businesses,” said Scott. “We envision great value in Cuba. Its population has limited access to the types of products and services that U.S. citizens take for granted. Renewed trade with Cuba could improve both the United States and Cuban economies.”

“The mission showcased the quality products and services coming out of Kentucky while uncovering new opportunities,” said J. Edwin Webb, President and CEO of the World Trade Center Kentucky. “We know that Cuba imports over 80 percent of its food, which presents an entry point for Kentucky’s agricultural community. With the U.S. emphasis for growth in agriculture, healthcare, logistics and automotive, we’re confident that this was the right mission at precisely the right time.”