According to reports by the Wall Street Journal, three major US corporations are preparing to complete deals to do business in Cuba.
AT&T Inc., Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. and Marriott International are expected to announce agreements with Cuban government-run entities, according to company and U.S. officials.
Earlier this week, in a letter to Treasure and Commerce Secretaries Jack Lew and Penny Pritzker, respectively, Senator Amy Klobuchar urged an amendment to regulations to authorize US investment in the Cuban hotel industry.
White House officials expressed hope some of these deals would come together before Mr. Obama arrives in Havana March 20.
Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson, vice chair of the President’s Export Council, will travel to Cuba with Mr. Obama.
“We are optimistic that we are going to get a green light soon from the U.S. government to have hotels under the Marriott flag in Cuba,” said Thomas Marder, a Marriott spokesman.
Starwood, which is soon to be acquired by Marriott, is also expected to make an announcement, according to U.S. officials and other people familiar with the matter.
“We see many opportunities for the expansion of our brands into Cuba at this inflection point, and look forward to building long-term relationships and welcoming travelers into our hotels in this dynamic market,” said Carrie Bloom, a Starwood spokeswoman, adding the firm is awaiting Treasury Department approval.
AT&T is expected soon to complete a roaming agreement with Cuba’s state-run telecommunications company ETECSA, U.S. officials said. A person familiar with the negotiations said ETECSA and AT&T haven’t yet reached an agreement. AT&T declined to comment.