Iowa legislators to visit Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 5 (acn) Two democratic legislators from the US state of Iowa are planning to come this week to Cuba leading a delegation interested in fostering bilateral links for future trade exchange.

According to local media in Iowa, Sen. Steve Sodders, D-Marshalltown, and Rep. Kirsten Running-Marquardt, D-Cedar Rapids, said they will be meeting with representatives from the Cuban government and business leaders to focus on fostering new business opportunities between Iowa and Cuba.

The Iowa mission would include representatives of economic development, tourism, and trade interests. The timing will allow the two state legislators to be back in Iowa in time for the Jan. 11 start of the Iowa General Assembly’s 2016 session, local media said.

According to Senator Sodders, the visit to Cuba is part of ongoing efforts to improve relationships with an emerging new market located just off the coast of the United States and that expanding trade with the island can bring benefits to the people of both countries.

Sodders and Running-Marquardt will be joined by Carlos Portes, a former ambassador for Latin America. Portes – who came to the U.S. at the age of 9 and was raised by a Marshalltown family — later was appointed Special Ambassador for Latin American affairs by President Jimmy Carter.

During a session of Iowa´s General Assembly, Sodders introduced a resolution approved by the Iowa Senate that promoted efforts to develop support for an enhanced trade relationship between Iowa and Cuba, according to local media in that US state.

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