WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching a business council aimed at improving opportunities for U.S. companies in Cuba.

WASHINGTON (AP) The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching a business council aimed at improving opportunities for U.S. companies in Cuba.

Leaders of the U.S.-Cuba Business Council announced Friday they will work with Congress to remove trade barriers and create jobs in both countries. The council will also urge the Cuban government to make policy changes that lessen government control over businesses.

U.S. Chamber President Tom Donohue says the council has an historic opportunity to support Cuba's independent entrepreneurs.

President Barack Obama has eased economic restrictions since announcing his vision for improved U.S.-Cuban relations nine months ago, sparking a surge in interest in investment opportunities on the island, though a trade embargo remains in place.

Cubans frequently complain about the rigidity of their country's system and express growing concern about inequality.