OPINION: Cuomo didn’t have to go so far south

Gov. Andrew Cuomo visits with Cuban government officials.New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo during his recent trade mission visit to Cuba.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was in Cuba this week to push his Global New York strategy, which seeks to expand trade and other business opportunities for Empire State companies.

At his side: executives from a passel of prominent New York brands, including JetBlue, MasterCard and yogurt-maker Chobani.

Big Pharma and biotech were especially well represented, with representatives from Pfizer, the NY Genome Center, Regeneron and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute also in tow.

If the group was really looking to increase trade with an island, it needn’t have traveled so far. Long Island would love to do business with other New York companies and would appreciate the state’s help in opening doors.

Islip’s MacArthur Airport, for example, has been courting JetBlue for years and is dying to ink a deal. Local pharmaceutical companies would be similarly thrilled to get face time with Pfizer, and there are dozens of biotech startups around Cold Spring Harbor and Stony Brook University ready to take Regeneron chief Leonard Schleifer to lunch.

Alas, our new economy doesn’t appear to interest the governor as much as Old Havana.

Too bad, because as the governor noted himself, “Isolation has not worked.” In the new world of trade, engagement is required. He was talking about Cuba, of course, but the same holds true here.

So come for a trade visit, Governor. Take a look around. We don’t make rum, but we’re distilling a pretty tasty single malt out East.

But bring your own cigars.