Ending the trade embargo with Cuba could boost Louisiana’s economy by opening up major agriculture, petrochemical and tourism markets, opponents of the sanctions say.
“Before we had an embargo, New Orleans was the No. 1 port doing business with Cuba,” said James Williams, president of Engage Cuba, a coalition of businesses and organizations that wants to end the travel and trade ban. “It (Louisiana) is one of the largest rice-producing states in the country. Cuba consumes more rice per capita than any country in the Western Hemisphere.”
Cuba imports $2 billion worth of agricultural goods a year, with soy and rice accounting for $500 million of the total, Williams said. Louisiana rice farmers may be able to grab a piece of that.