Click play below to listen to KMZU’s Mike Stone speak with Missouri Governor Jay Nixon about his up coming trade mission to Cuba:

Jay Nixon

There has been a lot of debate among political leaders about opening relations with Cuba. However Governor Jay Nixon believes this is a great opportunity that has potential to boost Missouri’s economics. “We will be announcing a pretty significant trade mission with agriculture leaders in Missouri and around the country to put the first foot print in opening up a $2 billion a year market for agricultural products,” explained Nixon, “I’m confident Missouri farmers can deliver and I think opening up a market of this size for us at this time, those relationships you build and help in foreign trade are very important and I look forward to being with agriculture leaders in Cuba.”

Nixon believes being first, will lock in better chances for the Show-Me states farmers and producers. “Exports are a huge part of our economy” Nixon expressed his hopes for Missourian’s, “We do about $14 billion dollars a year in exports, that’s about 6000 jobs back here for every billion dollars that we export. These long range relationships really pay off and being there first is going to mean something. I don’t have an exact timeline on it but I do know they are going to by rice, I do know they’re going to buy cotton, they’re going to buy corn, they’re going to buy beans, they are going to buy it from somebody and if we’re there first presenting ourselves and are farm community, my sense is we’ll get our piece of the action.”

It has been more than 50 years since American and Cuban ties were severed, proving even more the importance of normalizing relations with our Atlantic Ocean neighbors. “To normalize relations and begin to build up a market this close to the United States,” stated Nixon, “I think it’s important on two fronts. Economically, it’s important for us to sell our products especially the agriculture sector, around the world and this is only 90 miles away from Florida. On the foreign relations side, certainly we have got a lot of things to do and I’m confident that our federal partners, both the Senate as well as the President, will work hard to make sure we are working there. Bottom line is that this is an opportunity to bring freedom, capitalism, and American grown products to Cuba and we think it’s a great opportunity.”