The governor of the U.S. state of Louisiana is in Cuba to negotiate trade deals with the communist nation despite new Bush administration restrictions on such transactions.

Kathleen Blanco arrived in Havana late Tuesday as part of delegation of Louisiana business and government officials seeking new markets for the state's agricultural goods.

U.S. groups opposed to Cuban President Fidel Castro have criticized Governor Blanco's trip and had urged her to canceled it, saying it would only legitimize the Castro regime.

In 2000, the U.S. Congress relaxed trade restrictions against Cuba to allow cash sales of U.S. commodities. The move has made Cuba the 25th largest market for U.S. agricultural products.

The Bush administration, however, recently added a requirement that Cuba pay in advance for any products it purchases.