Mayor's Office Press Release
Houston Hosts Trade Delegation from Cuba
January 23, 2017 -- A delegation of Cuban representatives from various organizations involved in port activities is in Houston as part of a multi-city U.S. tour focused primarily on visiting ports. The visit comes just four months after Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Greater Houston Partnership led a trade delegation to Cuba.
"It is encouraging to see Cuban representatives accepting my invitation to visit Houston so soon after we were on the island,” said Mayor Turner. We are building relationships from the governmental side while encouraging and offering assistance and support for interactions with the Houston business community. I see opportunities for Houston in the energy, health, agriculture and shipping logistics sectors, especially as Cuban politics begin to evolve following the death of Fidel Castro.”
The group toured the containerized shipping area at the Port of Houston Sunday. They will have a private meeting with Mayor Turner and a workshop at the state capitol today. Then on Tuesday, there will be a “Doing Business with Cuba” presentation at the Houston Club, organized by the Greater Houston Partnership, Houston Bar Association and the Texas-Cuba Trade Alliance.
Under current regulations, agricultural products are the primary category of licensed cargo that can be moved from the U.S. to the island. Currently, this is only happening out of Fort Lauderdale. Up until late 2009/early 2010, frozen poultry was shipped from the Port of Houston. This ceased when Cuba began sourcing from the east coast. The resumption of shipments from Houston could help a number of other Texas agricultural products become competitive in the Cuban market. It is estimated $18.8 million worth of Texas-grown food could be going to Cuba in the future.
Cuba relies on Venezuela for its oil, but that relationship is viewed as precarious as Venezuela’s economy continues to reel back from its own governmental policies and the decline in global oil prices. It is also believed there may be potential in the areas of LNG exports and renewable energy as well as the potential for U.S. oil service firms to provide expertise to the Cuban energy market.