Gov. Nixon returns from Cuba trip
MIAMI - Gov. Jay Nixon returned from his trip to Havana, Cuba Wednesday from what he described as a "very successful trade mission."
It was Nixon's 13th foreign trade mission and he said increasing exports is a top priority for him.
Nixon was excited to announce the delegation's success in a 20 ton shipment of long grain Missouri rice to Cuba.
He and his trade delegation sat down with various Cuban industries and discussed trade of goods and services from Missouri to Cuba. He described the people he talked to as "friendly, warm and excited."
Nixon said agriculture was a big opportunity to open the market, but the state sees opportunities in other areas.
"We see great opportunity for Missouri manufacturing in the long run," he said.
In regards to Cuba's poor bill-paying record, Nixon said there is a legitimate concern whether bills will be paid in a timely fashion. He said the lack of access to banking and payments can impede trade and investment.
Nixon said Missouri has the ability to move goods down to Cuba and high quality products for their market. He expects the state will be a significant competitor in the future, once the financial issues are settled.
Missouri demand could also bring opportunity to Cuba. He said products like nickel, sugar, coffee and organic fruits and vegetables could be potential Cuban exports, but their economy has a long way to go.
[Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include additional information from Gov. Nixon's conference call.]