- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 23, 2016

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Tuesday that local businesses might soon reap the benefits of construction contracts in Cuba as the communist-run island nation begins normalizing trade relations with the U.S.

“The Cubans are pretty focused on the projects they need to do,” Ms. Bowser said Tuesday from Havana during a conference call with reporters. “And they’re concentrating on the time when relations between Cuba and the United States … become normalized.”

No contracts have been signed yet, though. Brian Kenner, D.C. deputy mayor for planning and economic development, said it’s too soon to hash out any details on possible construction projects.



“Everyone is going down … talking about these opportunities,” Mr. Kenner said. “Didn’t think we’re going walk away after two days with a transaction.”

Ms. Bowser is touring Cuba with officials from the District, Maryland and Virginia, as well as local business leaders. She said she has talked for more than a year about how the D.C. region could market itself to an international audience and that Cuba is rife with opportunity.

Mr. Kenner said the aim of regional leaders’ visit is to build relationships in Cuba for when construction contracts begin to be awarded.

“[The trip has been] very productive, and it will be helpful once markets open up,” he said.

• Ryan M. McDermott can be reached at rmcdermott@washingtontimes.com.

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