LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — We are learning more about Governor Asa Hutchinson’s trade mission currently underway in Cuba.
THV11 got the chance to speak with Hutchinson by phone from Havana.
He told the news station more than 50 people made the trip to Cuba with him including two senators, multiple CEOs from different corporations and several small business owners.
Their main goal: to build a strong relationship with Cuba in order to establish trade agreements down the line.
One area the Governor said Arkansas could really profit from an agreement with the island nation is rice and poultry, a main staple for both economies.
“We’re still sending some poultry into the market–about $4 million right now–but rice has been slow to get back into that market,” said Matt King with the Arkansas Farm Bureau. He said Cuba is one of the largest consumers of rice in the Americas, which could give Arkansas big gains with open rice trade. “It’s close to $100 million or so in rice, and most of that is a direct impact on the state of Arkansas.”
Governor Hutchinson told reporters he believes this process to be a slow one, but well worth it.
The party is scheduled to be back in the states Wednesday evening and will be speaking on the trip publicly either Thursday or Friday.
List of companies in Cuba with Gov. Asa Hutchinson:
- Arkansas Agriculture Department
- Arkansas State Police
- Arkansas Senate
- Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation
- Arkansas Glass Container Company
- ATA International
- Bio-Tech Pharmacal., Inc.
- ETW Enterprises, Inc.
- Hanna’s Candle Company
- HUNT Ventures
- Keith Smith Company
- Mannco Fertilizer
- NewRoad Ventures
- QSC Inc./In Good Spirits LLC.
- Riceland Foods, Inc.
- Safe Foods Corporation
- Simmons Foods
- Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc.
- University of Arkansas System
- University of Arkansas system division of Agriculture
- West Fraser
- Winrock Farms, Inc.
- World Trade Center Arkansas (ARWTC)