Governor John Bel Edwards is hoping the death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro will lead to more trade with the island nation. Edwards, who led a trade mission to Cuba in October, doesn't expect any changes over night, but hopes Louisiana can return to being a major trade partner.
"I'm hopeful and optimistic that as time moves forward we are going to be able to re-establish that historical relationship that we had with Cuba before the revolution," Edwards said.
President Barack Obama has worked to try and end the 55-year-old U.S. trade embargo with Cuba, but President-elect Donald Trump has given no indications he'll continue these efforts. Edwards says he's willing to work on reducing those trade barriers.
"There's gotta be a way to bridge the gap, I'm looking forward to working with the Trump administration and with the folks in Cuba to make sure we can do that," Edwards said.
Edwards says if relations with Cuba are restored, it would be for the state's rice industry. He says the rice consumption in Cuba per capita is 144 pounds per year.
"We have the best rice in the world, we are right here close to them and yet they continue to buy their rice from Vietnam. It takes 30 days to ship that inferior Rice to Cuba," Edwards said.