New York, Mar 17 (Prensa Latina) The Nasdaq Stock Market headquarters held here the second Summit on Opportunities in Cuba, a conference called by the Wharton School of Business to bring US entrepreneurs closer to business opportunities in the Caribbean Island.
Some 250 investors, entrepreneurs, CEOs and scholars attended the event held near the emblematic Times Square intersection, in the heart of the Great Apple, where they listened to speeches given by authorities and took part in panels and discussions.
In interview with Prensa Latina, the president of the investment firm Tres Mares and an organizer of the summit, Faquiry Diaz Cala, said the meeting was part of Wharton’s efforts to spread information and knowledge about opportunities and risks of doing business in Cuba.
We thought about holding the first meeting of this kind on the very night of December 17, 2014, in the wake of the announcement by presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama of the decision to advance towards the normalization of relations, he recalled.
According to Diaz, this second forum generated more expectations, in a context marked by progresses in bilateral links, the executive measures taken by Obama to make more flexible the US blockade more imposed on Cuba for over half a century and his upcoming visit to Havana, the first by a US president in nearly 90 years.
Diaz Cala, who is also CEO of Tres Mares, announced that steps have been taken to hold the next meeting of this sort in Havana, with support by Norwegian Cruise Line and other companies, with the intention to discuss the opportunities in a market that has been isolated by the US economic, commercial and financial blockade.
Besides these summits, Wharton and the promoters of this rapprochement have published some 25 studies about the Cuban economy and developed a reconnaisance mission in Havana, including 30 business people, who met Cuban with authorities and colleages, said Diaz Cala, himself a graduate of the Wharton School of Business in the University of Pennsylvania, one of the most prestigious worldwide.
Meanwhile, Gustavo Arnavat, a Senior Adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the conference today was part of the commitment to strengthen bilateral links, particularly the commercial links.
He told Prensa Latina that the forum shows the US firms’ interest in exploring the opportunities to reach Cuba.
“We have seen an interest for Cuba in the past 10-15 years, despite the embargo, a situation that intensified considerably in the wake of the announcements of December 17, 2014, because we have gone from an abstract idea to something concrete,” he said.
According to Arnavat, hundreds of US entities, mostly big firms, have hired lawyers and consultants or sent representatives to Havana to evaluate business possibilities.
He admitted, though, that this is a long process because on this side there are still laws that impose limitations (the blockade) while in the Island there are regulations that the US firms must know better.