New York’s Andrew Cuomo has become the first American governor to visit Cuba following the beginning of talks to normalize diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba.
Cuomo is in Cuba heading up a state trade mission delegation made up of New York State officials and business leaders interested in exploring new opportunities.
On his first day on the island, Cuomo will be meeting with Cuba’s First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, Minister of Trade and Foreign Investments Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, and Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino.
The opening of the roundtable meetings as part of the NYS Trade Mission to Cuba will take place at 3:00, at Havana’s Parque Central Hotel.
“As the door begins to open between US & Cuba, we want NY businesses to be 1st out of the gate when it comes to building trade partnerships,” wrote Governor Cuomo on his Twitter account on the eve of his trip to Cuba.
“President Obama’s change in policy is the first step in opening new markets and new opportunities for New York businesses, and New York is poised to take advantage of re-established relations,” he said earlier this year, when his trip was first announced.
New York State Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who is part of Cuomo’s delegation, wrote on her Twitter account that the trip was an exciting and wonderful opportunity for the people of New York, a way to help build relationships to help move the economy forward.
“I commend both the President and @NYGovCuomo for understanding that building these relationships can help trade and struggle for greater equality,” she added in another tweet.
Governor Cuomo said that this mission will be a tremendous stepping stone for his State’s relationship with Cuba, and will help open the door to a new market for New York businesses.
“Creating an environment that supports growth and economic development is one of our administration’s top priorities, and Global NY is the perfect example of how we’re taking that approach to the international stage. As the first state to launch a trade mission to Cuba in this new era, New York will continue to stand at the forefront of opportunity,” he added on his February announcement.
Joining Cuomo on this trip to Cuba are Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, the CEOs of JetBlue and Chobani Greek Yogurt, as well as representatives from Pfizer, Regeneron and a Finger Lakes dairy company.