Asst. Secretary of State Highlights Two Trade Deals

On his first trip to Miami since his appointment as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, Charles Rivkin met with local business leaders and toured the Port of Miami.

"It generates 27 billion dollars of activity for Miami Dade and over 200,000 jobs. Think about what will happen if these trade deals pass." Charles Rivkin, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs said.

The two trade agreements Rivkin highlighted during his trip were with the Asia Pacific market and the European Union, but he spoke to us briefly about US-Cuba policy.

"The sanctions are still in place, the embargo requires legislative action, and by no means are we getting ahead of ourselves," Rivkin said.

Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson is leading the negotiations with Cuba, however, Rivkin will oversee the implementation of telecommunications.

"We have requested meetings with the appropriate authorities in the Cuban government to talk about opportunities for Telecomm and I know a lot of American businesses are interested in participating, but you know we're going slow," Rivkin said.

On Thursday, US-based IDT Corporation announced they reached an agreement with Cuba's national telecom provider to exchange international long distance telephony between both countries directly. The Federal Communications Commission now must approve or deny the deal.

"The greater the connectivity in Cuba, the greater opportunity for free speech and human rights," Rivkin added.

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