Michigan lawmakers on a trade trip to Cuba

Flights to Havana, which account for the great majority of U.S. flights to Cuba, will remain legal. (Source: CNN)
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A 32-person delegation of Michigan lawmakers and agribusiness representatives arrived in Cuba last Monday on a mission to exchange information on the Cuban market, mainly in the agricultural sector, for a possible future relationship in that field.
The group has had meetings with Cuban officials mainly from the agriculture and trade ministries, and also with cooperative farms and individual farmers.
Thursday morning they held a press conference in which they advocated a constructive relationship with the island, not only trade but also with scientific exchanges.
Last Wednesday morning, they were visiting a cooperative farm located some 27 miles from Havana City.
NBC news had exclusive access to that visit.
There they were informed by the president of the cooperative about the affiliation system, the main crops of the cooperative and the different markets, including Cuban hotels, to which they can sell their productions as part of the limited economic reforms in the island.
Having as a backdrop a banana plantation, in exclusive statements for NBC News, both Chuck Lippstreu, current president of Michigan Agri-business Association and James Byrum, former president, reaffirmed the interest of their state's farmers in the Cuban market.
They hope at some point, despite the current embargo restrictions, and the most recent White House sanctions, being able to develop business relations with the island.
Cuba imports some two-billion dollars worth of agriculture annually, one eighth from U.S., but according to Michigan media farmers from its state currently do not export to the island, although some farm corporations have used third-party payments in the past, none are currently doing so.
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