Motivated perhaps by the call of the Cuban authorities towards greater openness to foreign investment in the island, more than a thousand 400 exhibitors from 65 nations participate from this Sunday in the XXXI International Trade Fair of Havana, FIHAV 2013 .
With the largest participation of the last decade, the event hosts about three thousand visitors, exhibitors, official delegations, representatives of world’s commercial entities and diplomatic corps based in Havana , which confirms the growing interest of the international community to know what this small piece of land in the Caribbean has to offer.
At the opening of the meeting, Rodrigo Malmierca, Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment confirmed the will and decision of Cuba to “upgrade ” its foreign investment policy by the important role of foreign capital in economic and industrial development .
This policy will allow Cuba to have a portfolio of projects to facilitate the identification of “serious partners” interested in working together with Cuban companies for mutually beneficial business through investments that bring technological innovation and create jobs, the Minister said.
An example the offensive Cuba deploys to attract foreign capital, is the Special Development Zone Mariel (ZEDM), whose “birth is a fact” with the entry into force of the regulatory standards barely two days ago.
About this mega project, Malmierca said that in January 2014 it will officially begin its duties in an area of 465.4 square kilometers, located in the province of Artemisa about 50 kilometers west of Havana city. There the Cuban government will establish special policies to attract investment based on environmentally sustainable development.
This monumental work that Cuba develops with financial support of the Brazilian Government will make available to its customers a wide infrastructure near the port of Mariel, which includes a container terminal, highway, railways, airports fast connection, power grids, water services and telecommunications.
As an appeal to global business, the MINCEX minister said the Cuban economy “is in the process of transformation, and maintains its vitality and growth by about three percent over the past 18 months,” referring to the process called update of the Cuban economic model.
He noted that the model reaffirms socialism and planning as cornerstones for development, but at the same time recognizes and promotes non-state forms of property management such as cooperatives and self-employed, new actors in Cuba’s economic scene to contribute to the liberation of productive forces, in conjunction with the socialist enterprise system.
So far, 113 non-agricultural cooperatives have been created in various sectors and there are over 400 000 self-employed people, since the implementation of the Guidelines of the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, a sort of guide to restructure the ailing national economy.
After the opening speech, Ricardo Cabrisas, vice president of the Council of Ministers , proceeded to the traditional ribbon cutting to officially open the XXXI Havana Trade Fair, with the highest turnout in the last decade , and an increase of 20 percent over 2012 participation .
The Vice President, together with other state and the government authorities, visited the pavilions of Venezuela, Brazil, Russia and Mexico, Cuba important partners in its exchange with the outside. At the time, Cuban ministers of Energy and Industry, Agriculture and Food Industry, visited the stands for their sectors in the exhibition area of the host country.
On the opening day of the forum, Cabrisas also inaugurated a solar farm donated by China, which feed 50 percent of Expocuba facilities, traditional venue of the event located about 25 kilometers from the city center.
They also held the Sixth Session of the Cuba -Russia Business Committee, where both delegations reaffirmed, through the action plan for 2014, their interest in expediting the realization of joint projects in traditional sectors such as renewable energy, industry, tourism and biotechnology.
At the meeting, Cuba Textile Union and Russian firm Zao TextilMach Foreing Trade Company signed a cooperation protocol for the importation into the Island of spare parts and machinery.
According to the schedule for Monday, business meetings will be held with representatives from Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, as well as presentations on the taxation of foreign companies in Cuba and the legal framework for petroleum activities. They will as well have celebrations of National Days of Venezuela, China, Spain and Mexico.
Cubay Carta Blanca Rum Extra Viejo, one of the products the CUBARON Company promotes, will be presented at the fair with the participation of national and foreign press, and interested customers.
Until November ninth in Expocuba, traditional venue of the event, they will deploy a comprehensive business program and presentations of goods and services in the 25 exhibition halls. The closing ceremony is scheduled for Friday at the Conventions Center in Havana, while the public visitation will be on Saturday 9.