- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 6, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Members of the Arkansas Rice Federation have traveled to Cuba to discuss the future of trade between the U.S. and Cuba.

The delegation, which included Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward, was briefed on developments in Cuban farming and also met with representatives of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Foreign Trade, Havana University and Alimport, the state-owned operation responsible for agricultural imports and exports.

Ward says conversations with organizations like Alimport can help put Arkansas in the best position for future business. Ward says the state wants to develop relationships before financial restrictions that hinder trade with Cuba are lifted.

Delegates also met with U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford of Arkansas, who updated the officials on legislative efforts and discussed the possibility of stepping up attempts to ease Cuban trade restrictions.

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