LA Gov. Edwards Heading To Cuba Next Week For Trade Talks

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards is traveling to Cuba next week for a trade mission, seeking to build economic ties with the island nation now that the U.S. is moving to normalize relations between the countries.

         The Monday through Friday trip will include Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain, Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson and Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn Wilson. About 50 other state, local, education and business officials also will participate.

         Louisiana's lawmakers passed a resolution earlier this year urging trade talks with Cuba. Edwards' office says the governor's trip will include executives from five Louisiana port districts to discuss commercial opportunities with the communist nation.

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         Louisiana, according to the governor's office, ranks as the top exporting state to Cuba.

         In 2005, then-Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco traveled to Cuba.

         – by AP Reporter Melinda Deslatte

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