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Va. Gov. McAuliffe heads to Cuba to announce export deals

Gov. Terry McAuliffe says there was nothing wrong with the Secretary of Trade's luxury box at the Redskins game, since it was part of the battle among D.C., Maryland and Virginia to be home to the next Washington football stadium. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

WASHINGTON — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe was headed in Cuba Sunday for a four-day visit expected to include the announcements of several export deals for Virginia products.

“Cuba is a major trading partner for us, and we’re going to have some very important strategic announcements when we are in Cuba,” McAuliffe said ahead of the trip.

He has traveled around the world since taking office to places like the Middle East.

“Ninety-five percent of the world’s customers live outside the United States of America, so I go where the customers are,” McAuliffe said.

On each trip, he has announced deals that were at least largely worked out ahead of time to increase exports of Virginia products or to draw new investment to Virginia.

On Dec. 22, McAuliffe met with the Cuban ambassador to the United States at the Cuban Embassy in Washington.

In a sign the trip will focus on exports of grain, poultry and related farm commodities, the meeting included Virginia Agriculture Sec. Todd Haymore.

“We’re going where the customers are to build our ag business,” McAuliffe said.

The Obama administration took steps to normalize relations with Cuba about a year ago.

The U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, a business group that supports trade with Cuba, said McAuliffe is the 14th U.S. governor to visit Cuba since 1999.

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