This Sunday, the XXX Havana International Trade Fair was inaugurated in the EXPOCUBA fairground, some 25 kilometers outside Havana city, where Cuba tries to attract foreign investment to continue its “modest but steady” growing trend its economy shows.
In the opening speech, Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca, stressed that “foreign capital will continue playing an important role in our present and future” to attract the latest technologies and to increase and diversify Cuba’s exports.
This fair, the largest by the numbers in the last 10 years, gathers 1500 exhibitors from 65 countries, which will explore the new opportunities the Cuban market is offering, amidst a process of changes Cuba is undertaking. They will show their products and services here till November 10th.
The Cuban government is holding talks with several countries like Brazil to promote investment in the “development special zones”, in an effort to reform and recover its economy.
In this regard, Malmierca pointed out that they are taking the first steps to set up these “zones”. The first one, in the Mariel Port, 50 kilometers west of Havana, is an 800 million dollar project, undertook by Brazilian Oderbetch.
He and the Russian Minister of Industry and Commerce Denis Manturov toured the fairground in the Fair’s first day. The Russian showed interest in starting deals with Caribex, the Cuban enterprise that exports sea products.
Foreign presence grew by 15 percent, compared to the previous fair, when 57 nations were represented, and the countries with the biggest growth are Italy, Venezuela and Russia.
In the 25 pavilions set this year, producers are exhibiting food, construction materials and machinery, equipments for several uses, raw materials for the industry, and a wide range of services related to health, education and tourism.
An AFP dispatch reads that a group of American entrepreneurs will attend the fair despite a contraction of 50 percent in Cuban food imports from the United States since 2008.
During the Fair, starting this Monday, Cuba will hold bilateral meetings with Brazil, South Africa, Russia and Mexico. Also there will be an entrepreneurial meeting with the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA), which is made up of 14 Caribbean nations.
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