A national group of business leaders and others working to open trade with Cuba launched a state council in Little Rock Monday.
James Williams, President of the umbrella group, Engage Cuba, said Arkansas lawmakers are leading the effort to lift the 55 year-old trade embargo against the country.
Cuba is the number one rice consumer in the Western Hemisphere, he said, adding he believes it is "ridiculous" the country cannot purchase U.S. products on credit.
"We're 90 miles away and they're buying their rice in Vietnam. We're all outraged by that fact.”
Arkansas is the top rice producer in the United States. The state also produces soybeans and corn, which are popular in Cuba.
Engage Cuba is waging a national campaign to encourage congress members to lift the restrictions.