NEW YORK – Top executives from big U.S. firms such as MasterCard, pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer and JetBlue airline will travel to Cuba on a trade mission headed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The Monday visit, which had been announced in January, will be the first of its kind since U.S. and Cuban authorities last December made public their intention to normalize diplomatic relations between the two nations.
The list of participants, announced Sunday by Cuomo, also includes top officials from educational and research institutions and several politicians.
Among the businesspeople who will go on the trade mission are JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes, MasterCard vice president Walt M. Macnee and Pfizer VP Freda Lewis-Hall.
In addition, other firms will be represented in Cuba, including tech company Infor, pharmaceutical firm Regeneron and yogurt manufacturer Chobani.
Also traveling with the group will be executives from the Plattsburgh International Airport, the New York Genome Center and the State University of New York.
Along with members of the private sector, accompanying Cuomo will be several New York political leaders, including State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
“The representatives in New York’s delegation will help ensure Empire State companies are at the front of the line as the door opens to a market that has been closed to U.S. enterprise for over a half century,” Cuomo said in a statement announcing the trade mission.
According to the governor, the participants in the mission “will serve as ambassadors for all that New York state has to offer and will help form the foundation for a strong economic relationship between New York and Cuba as legal restrictions on trade are eased in the future.”