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Governor Perdue to lead mission to Cuba

Friday, June 4, 2010  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774

ATLANTAGovernor Sonny Perdue will lead a 43-person delegation in a business mission to explore trade opportunities with Cuba, the Governor’s office announced today. The group will leave for Havana Sunday, June 6 and return to Georgia Tuesday, June 8.

  “Our intent with this mission is to develop relationships that can bring more business for our companies and for the state,” said Governor Perdue. “The global accessibility we can provide through the Georgia Ports and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport already position Georgia as a prime trade partner for Cuba, and open other economic development opportunities for us as well.”

Industry leaders accompanying the Governor include prominent representatives of the Georgia Poultry Foundation, Georgia Agribusiness Council, Georgia Dairy Farmer, Georgia Farm Bureau and Georgia Center of Innovation for Agriculture.  State officials from the departments of Agriculture and Economic Development will participate as well as Dr. Scott Angle, Dean and Director of UGA’s College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, and Curtis Foltz, Executive Director of the Georgia Ports Authority. Legislators with the mission include Sen. Don Balfour, Sen. Tommie Williams, and Rep. Terry England. A number of business leaders from private industry will also accompany the Governor.

Governor Perdue will lead the group in a business roundtable with Alimport, Cuba’s primary purchasing agency for commodities, on June 7. The Governor will also meet with senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Relations and other Cuban government leaders. Group activities include a visit to the Latin American School of Medicine, which trains international students to become healthcare providers in impoverished areas outside Cuba.

Cuba’s primarily agricultural economy and the accessibility of the Georgia’s ports have already stimulated significant trade activity with Georgia. Year-to-date, Georgia ranks third among U.S. states in exporting to Cuba, with exports up 141 percent from last year. Georgia’s top exports to Cuba include poultry, soybeans, pork, sausage and margarine. Cuba has also had significant growth in industries including medicines & medical equipment and telecommunications, which are also areas of strategic focus for Georgia.

Georgia’s other ties with Cuba include a number of cultural and business resources serving the Cuban community in the state. The Georgia Department of Agriculture has previously led missions Cuba to represent the state at the Havana Expo and explore other trade opportunities.