OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE
An agreement was reached to forgive Cuba's debt to Vietnam. Photo: Ricardo López Hevia

With the March 29 signing of a series of agreements that range from the enterprise sector to cooperation between the two governments, Cuba and Vietnam strengthened their strategic relationship and opened the way for future projects.

With the presence of Army General Raúl Castro, President of Cuba's Councils of State and Ministers, and Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), the countries' representatives signed nine new accords.

A few hours earlier, during the Cuba-Vietnam Enterprise Forum, held in the Hotel Nacional, the emergence of a new Vietnamese concessionaire to operate in the Mariel Special Development Zone was formalized.

The general director of the company Viglacera S.A, Nguyen Anh Tuan, and the Zone's general director, Ana Teresa Igarza, signed an agreement recognizing ViMariel S.A under Cuban law, with 100% foreign capital.

Igarza explained to the press that the new concessionaire plans to develop an industrial park of some 156 hectares.

The new concession, with a term of 50 years, allows for the development of a timeline of capital investment, over a five year period starting in 2019, to build roads, and establish communications, electrical, and water networks. The company is also authorized to build standard plants that would be available for lease.

Also signed on the occasion were two other agreements. An administration and sales contract for the New York Hotel, with representatives from the Cuban state enterprise Gran Caribe S.A and the Vietnamese Chao-Viglacera Association; and a memorandum of understanding between the hotel chain Cubanacan S.A and Vietnam's HANEL Co, to design, construct, operate, and commercialize a five star hotel in Havana.

Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, additionally announced the approval of two important projects with the Vietnamese company Tin Thanh, one for the construction of a 50 megawatt bioelectrical plant, and another for agricultural development combined with the use of renewable energy to generate electricity, both in the province of Camagüey.

For his part, Vietnam's Minister of Industry and Commerce, Tran Tuan Anh, recalled that his country is now Cuba's second most important trade partner in Asia and Oceania, but that interest exists in further strengthening and increasing economic relations.

He emphasized plans to expand trade, which currently stands at close to 200 million dollars annually, raising it to 500 million in the short term.

A number of memoranda of cooperation were also signed during the afternoon, addressing the areas of communications and justice.

PRINCIPAL LEGAL INSTRUMENTS SIGNED

1- Accord on interchange and cooperation between the Communist Party of Cuba and that of Vietnam

2- Agreement to forgive the Cuban government's debt to that of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

3- Treaty on mutual legal assistance in the area of penal issues, between the Republic of Cuba and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

4- Memorandum of understanding on scientific and technological cooperation between the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology and the Cuban Ministry of Science, Technology, and Environment (Citma)

5- Memorandum of cooperation on environmental protection and responding to climate change, between Citma and Vietnam's Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment

6- Accord between Cuba's Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment (Mincex) and the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Commerce, on the conclusion of negotiations to establish a trade agreement between the two countries' governments

7- A framework agreement on Vietnam-Cuba cooperation in the development of rice production, for the period 2018-2022

8- Memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of construction between the two countries' ministries of Construction

9- Cooperation agreement between the Vietnamese News Agency (VNA) and the Cuban press agency Prensa Latina.