Most Secretive Visit By A Governor? West Virginia; No Mention On State's Web Site Until Two Days After Return

The Honorable Earl Ray Tomblin (D), Governor of West Virginia, visited the Republic of Cuba for two days (17 November 2016 to 19 November 2016) with representatives of West Virginia-based public sector and private sector entities; no information was provided about the visit at www.wv.gov or www.governor.wv.gov

This was the most secretive visit to the Republic of Cuba by any United States governor.

"Governor Tomblin Joins Department of Commerce for Trade Mission to Cuba

11/21/2016
West Virginia businesses highlighted for new export opportunities

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (November 21, 2016) – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin returned Saturday from a two-day trade mission to Cuba, where he accompanied officials from the West Virginia Department of Commerce to pursue new trade opportunities between the state and country. The delegation was joined by officials from Pilgrim’s Pride, Multicoat and Industrial Bolting Technologies, who were all looking to grow their export potential.  

“Our goal was to highlight West Virginia’s outstanding exporters and pursue opportunities for trade between our state and Cuba, and I believe we did so with great success,” Gov. Tomblin said. “Like other governors across the country, I believed it was extremely important to take advantage of the new opportunity before us to visit with Cuban officials as the U.S. and Cuba have recently started to normalize trade relations. In today’s economy, exporting is vital for business success – and this is another opening for us to take the Mountain State to the world market.”

“We went into this trade mission without any expectations, and I can tell you it exceeded any hopes we could have had. Last week, we learned that Cuba has a strong economic market for many products, including our own. We believe this will be a game changer for our product,” said Multicoat Vice President John Dill, who was a member of the delegation. “I normally spend the Monday before Thanksgiving in a tree stand, but I’m so excited about these new opportunities that I’m already in the office following up on leads we established. We appreciate Governor Tomblin leading this mission and for the state giving us the opportunity to be a part of the state’s sales team.”

“During my time as governor, I have had the privilege of representing the people of West Virginia by traveling across the country and around the world and sharing what makes our state a great place to live, work and do business,” Gov. Tomblin said. “I was pleased to share with Cuban officials not only more information about the goods and services West Virginia offers, but also our state’s dependable workers who have allowed so many of our businesses to grow local operations to a global scale.”

This visit marked Gov. Tomblin’s sixth and final international mission, and the first focused primarily on developing new trade and export opportunities for West Virginia businesses. In 2015, West Virginia businesses exported goods and services to more than 141 countries totaling $5.8 billion."

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