RICHMOND — The Virginia Port Authority has struck a deal with its Cuban counterpart to explore commercial opportunities with the island nation, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Tuesday.

McAuliffe, in the middle of a three-day trade mission to Cuba, said the Virginia delegation signed a memorandum of understanding with the Cuban Port Authority, which recently completed the $1 billion Port of Mariel project, according to the governor's office.

"Virginia enjoys a uniquely productive economic relationship with Cuba, and this MOU will generate additional opportunities for economic and cultural exchange," McAuliffe said. "As relations between our nations continue to normalize, this agreement will position Virginia as a leader in trade relations with Cuba now and in the future."

The agreement, the announcement said "establishes a platform for cooperation and information sharing aimed at developing links between Cuba and Virginia to support waterborne trade and investment, improve customer service, enhance collaboration to achieve improved business practices and increase the level of vessel services available between the two entities."

On Monday, McAuliffe announced a similar cooperation agreement between Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Havana.

Wednesday is the final day of the governor's trip.

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