U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will travel to Cuba with business persons from her country, as part of the delegation accompanying President Barack Obama during his visit to the island on March 20-22.
A communique issued by the Ministry of Commerce of the United States confirmed that Pritzker will come to Cuba with a group of business persons, like Arne Sorenson, executive president of the Marriott International hotel chain, as well as Ursula Burns, executive president of Xerox.
Also part of the delegation will be executives of the companies AT & T, of telecommunications, and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, which are interested in learning, in situ, more about business opportunities on the island, points out the press release.
Pritzker, who will make her second trip to Cuba in less than six months, toured in October the Mariel Special Development Zone, and held meetings with trade officials in Cuba and exchanges with Cuban producers.
After the reestablishment of relations between Cuba and the United States in July and the reopening of embassies in Havana and Washington, the Secretary of Commerce was the second member of the Obama cabinet to visit the island in decades.
During that stay, Pritzker and Rodrigo Malmierca, Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, inaugurated the Regulatory Dialogue between the two countries, which had in February a new edition in the U.S. capital in search for mechanisms to facilitate the implementation of the new policies of the United States towards Cuba in the commercial area, weighed down heavily by the laws codifying the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba.
“It is clear that our business persons want to do business with Cuba, we have been in touch with them and that interest is very high,” said the secretary recently, who praised the Cuban market as an opportunity, although she did not recognize the blockade as the main obstacle.
For its part, AT & T and the hotel giants Marriott International and Starwood Hotels are getting ready -announced on Friday the Wall Street Journal-, to sign agreements to do business in Cuba.
“We are optimistic about the fact that we will have the green light by the U.S. government to install the Marriott brand hotels in Cuba,” said Thomas Marder, spokesman for the hotel group, which recently acquired the Starwood hotel chain.
In order to set up on the island, the U.S. business groups have to apply –due to the blockade laws- for licenses to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Obama’s visit will be the first by a serving president in almost 90 years and is part of the path taken by both countries towards the normalization of relations.