Cuba Business

Tampa Port Authority gets consent for Cuba travel

Posted June 12, 2003 by publisher in Cuba Business.

Associated Press

TAMPA—The Tampa Port Authority has received approval from federal regulators for travel to Cuba on a trade mission.

The authority, which received approval Tuesday, said it hasn’t arranged the details, but a group is expected to travel to the communist island nation before the travel license expires Sept. 6. The group cannot stay for more than a week.

“We’ll get the who, what, where and when done soon,’’ said Lori Rafter, a port spokeswoman.

In 2000, Congress loosened the 40-year-old embargo and authorized food and agricultural shipments to Cuba. Ports in Galveston, Texas; Gulfport, Miss.; and Jacksonville have handled most of the increasing exports. The Tampa Port Authority, which initially balked at promoting Cuban trade, wants to see whether it can get some business.

Several agricultural commodities produced in the Tampa Bay area can be legally shipped to Cuba, including animal feed, produce and some types of fertilizer.

The Cuban government’s trade agency invited Tampa port officials to Cuba in February.

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