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            june 23, 2018

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US ports involved in Cuban trade could face state funding cuts


Florida Governor Rick Scott is threatening to halt state funding for Florida ports that engage in trade with Cuba, prompting officials at the port Everglades and port of Palm Beach to hastily scrap plans to sign memorandums of understanding with Cuban officials visiting the state.
"I will recommend restricting state funds for ports that work with Cuba in my budget," Mr Abbott tweeted recently, reported American Journal of Transportation (AJOT).
Shortly afterwards, Mr Abbott followed up the social media warning with a statement in his state budget proposal saying there should be no state funds for any Florida port where infrastructure enhancements would "result in the expansion of trade with the Cuban dictatorship."
Mr Abbott's proposed US$10.8 billion transportation budget for the new year includes $176 million for Florida ports. Since assuming office in 2011, Mr Abbott has included $1 billion in port infrastructure funding in state budgets.
Not only did the two South Florida ports cancel MoU signings, but embarrassment was heaped as officials of the Alabama State Port Authority, which operates the Port of Mobile, signed their own MoU the National Port Administration of Cuba on February 2 in Tampa in the hotel where a port conference hosted by Port Tampa Bay and presented by the American Association of Port Authorities and the US Maritime Administration was taking place.
US President Donald Trump has promised to revoke actions taken during the Obama administration to lift the US-Cuba trade embargo, leaving further uncertainty for Florida ports.

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