U.S. Commerce Secretary to travel to Havana next week

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker (in photo at top) will be in Havana Oct. 6-7, becoming the second U.S. Cabinet official to visit Cuba since President Obama called for the reestablishment of diplomatic relations in December 2014.

She was preceded to Havana by Secretary of State John Kerry, who on Aug. 14 inaugurated the U.S. Embassy there.obama & pritzker

While in the Cuban capital, Secretary Pritzker will meet with senior Cuban officials and co-chair a Regulatory Dialogue with Cuban functionaries, through which officials of the Departments of Commerce and Treasury will describe the changes made on Sept. 18 to rules governing trade, financial transactions and travel with respect to Cuba. [For details, click here.]

Topics for discussion include the concession of credits that would enable Cuban companies to purchase of U.S. goods without having to pay on a “cash-on-advance” basis. Other obstacles to the development of bilateral ties will also be broached.

U.S. officials will hear from Cuban leaders on the structure and status of the Cuban economy, including the nongovernmental sector, known as “cuentapropismo” or self-employed entrepreneurship.

This Regulatory Dialogue is intended to facilitate more effective implementation of new U.S. policies toward Cuba, the Commerce Department said in its press release.

Pritzker, a Chicago billionaire, former business executive and heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune, became Commerce chief in June 2013.

For an interview in The Miami Herald earlier this year, in which she discussed the prospects of trade with Cuba, click here.

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