Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue was expected to leave for Cuba today, leading a 43-person delegation to “explore trade opportunities” with the communist nation.
“Our intent with this mission is to develop relationships that can bring more business for our companies and for the state,” Perdue said in a news release. “The global accessibility we can provide through the Georgia Ports and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport already position Georgia as a prime trade partner for Cuba, and open other economic development opportunities for us as well.”
The group was scheduled to return on Wednesday.
According to state officials, Georgia’s exports to Cuba are up 141 percent over last year, and the state ranks third among the states that export to Cuba. Poultry, soybeans, pork, sausage and margarine are the state’s top exports to Cuba, according to officials.
The delegation includes a number of politicians and industry leaders, including Scott Angle, dean and director of UGA’s College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences; Curtis Foltz, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority; state Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville; state Sen. Tommie Williams, R-Lyons; and state Rep. Terry England, R-Auburn.
Before departing for Cuba, Perdue attended a Sunday morning worship service at Buckhead Church, according to one witness.