New York Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed at the weekend that he will lead one of the first US trade missions to Cuba since Barack Obama relaxed travel and trade restrictions on the island.
The Democratic governor will be promoting an initiative that seeks to attract foreign investment to New York state, said spokeswoman Melissa DeRosa.
“As part of the Global NY initiative, Governor Cuomo plans to lead a trade mission to Cuba. This is one of several such trips promoting New York that he plans to take in the coming term,” she said.
Mr Cuomo will release the plans for his trip on Wednesday, the same day that delegates from the US and Cuba begin high-level talks in Havana.
The bilateral talks, led by Cuba’s Foreign Ministry director-general for US affairs Josefina Vidal Ferreira and US Western Hemisphere Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary Edward Alex Lee, will focus on resumption of diplomatic missions in both countries and immigration.
Mr Cuomo’s announcement coincided with Vermont Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy setting off on the first congressional mission to Cuba since Mr Obama’s December 17 announcement that Washington would start normalising ties with the socialist island.
Mr Leahy is heading a group of four Democratic senators and two Democratic representatives, all of whom have visited Cuba in the past and who strongly support the new policy.
Cuban President Raul Castro has welcomed last month’s bilateral agreement but has made clear that Havana does not intend to abandon its historical political and economic choices.