OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE
Russian investment has been decisive in efforts to renovate railroad transportation on the island. Photo: Jose M. Correa

Russia is participating in the 36th Havana International Fair (FIHAV 2018) as a strong economic partner, not just of Cuba, but of Latin America and the Caribbean as well.

Over the last few years, trade between the two countries has grown significantly. Among the most important areas of collaboration are railroad engineering, the automotive industry, and metal works. Other sectors in which Russia has a presence in Cuba include aviation, the chemical and light industries, as well as pharmaceuticals and medicine.

On this occasion, more than 15 companies affiliated with Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade are exhibiting at the ExpoCuba fairgrounds, aspiring to broaden bilateral collaboration and contribute to strengthening economic relations between the two countries.

RUSSIA-LATIN AMERICA-CARIBBEAN BUSINESS FORUM

Cooperation between Russia, Latin America and the Caribbean is being modernized and diversified with new projects that contribute to the development of national economies, as was made apparent during the First Business Forum focused on Russia, Latin America, and the Caribbean, held on the first day of FIHAV 2018.

According to Yuri I. Borisov, deputy prime minister of the Russian Federation, the Fair is an ideal opportunity to consolidate new projects between his country and Latin American nations. He commented that the region is important to Russia, and that in 2017, commerce had reached 14.5 billion dollars.

“We advocate for political and economic stability in Latin America. Interest on the part of Russian companies is constantly growing and we hope to increase our presence and incorporate long-term business models, that offer competitive advantages in the world market,” he said.
Borisov added that Russia is looking to encourage dialogue and develop joint national commissions, as key tools to finding new niches in the market.

To date, Russia has signed memoranda of understanding with Cuba, Ecuador, Chile, and the regional group Mercosur.
INDUSTRIAL COOPERATION WITH CUBA

During the Business Forum, Orlando Hernández Guillén, president of Cuba’s Chamber of Commerce, recalled the long relationship shared by Cuba and Russia, expressing confidence that the two countries are in a good position to revitalize and broaden ties.

“Russia is a strategic partner for Cuba, and is present in decisive sectors of our economy. Projects are underway in the fields of energy and transportation, and projected is the export of biotechnological products from the island,” he said.

To accomplish these objectives, our country has updated its body of law in line with the development of foreign investment on a world level, he said, and is projecting a broad bilateral agenda that includes strengthening relations with Russia.

To date, the country’s main projects in Cuba are in infrastructure, especially the railroad industry, which has allowed for improved logistics, better cargo transportation, and investments in the industry and tourism.

According to Yuri I. Borisov, long-term contracts have been signed worth billions of euros, which will have a significant impact on Cuba’s economy.

RUSSIAN DELEGATION TO FIHAV

Addressing Russia’s presence at the Fair, Aleksey Lyutinskiy, head of the country’s office of international expositions (Expocentre), recalled that Cuba has a long history of economic relations with his country.

“Given its market and culture, in addition to the traditional relations that unite us, Cuba has always been a clear objective, with a high profile for us. Years ago, there were a multitude of companies here, and today contracts and relations with these entities are being revitalized,” he stated.

Lyutinskiy commented that, in his experience as an organizer of fairs, FIHAV is very well organized, and that Russian companies in attendance are very pleased. The interest of Cuban institutions has been palpable, he said, and those coming for the first time have felt very well cared for.

Ties between Cuba and Russia date back to the first years of the Revolution, when bridges of cooperation were built with the former Soviet Union. In the 1990s, the relationship deteriorated with the fall of the socialist camp in Europe, but over the last several years, the two countries have made an effort to recuperate their historic ties of cooperation.