HAVANA – The National Port Administration of Cuba and the Port of Houston Authority signed on Wednesday a memorandum of friendship and trade cooperation aimed at facilitating and promoting trade, creating new business and fostering a closer bilateral relationship.
The agreement was the first to be signed by Cuban and United States port authorities since President Donald Trump’s executive order in June rolling back some of the policy shifts on Cuba put in place by his predecessor, Barack Obama.
The signing of this agreement “shows the willingness of the US maritime port sector to establish closer trade ties and relations of friendship and cooperation with Cuba based on mutual respect,” the Communist-ruled island’s Transportation Ministry said in a note to the media.
For his part, the Port Houston Authority’s chief commercial officer, Ricky Kunz, said after signing the agreement that it was an opportunity to continue the commercial exchange of farm products between the US and Cuba and would enable Port Houston to export agri-food products to the island such as frozen chicken, rice and beans.
Regarding the future repercussions of the Trump administration’s measures toward Cuba, Kunz said he preferred not to comment pending the Sept. 15 formal announcement of new regulations on Cuba by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.
For his part, the director-general of the Maritime Administration of Cuba, Capt. Jose Joaquin Prado, noted that it was the eighth memorandum of understanding that Cuba had signed with US ports, following agreements inked with others in the states of Florida and Virginia.