China and Cuba expand trade, cooperation and investment

Global Business

At Cuba’s historic National Hotel, a meet and greet between Cuban and Chinese business leaders.

Here, 30 Chinese companies are looking for opportunities and contacts on this island, to trade in everything from basic goods to companies specializing in renewable energy.

CGTN’s Joel Richards reports.

“Cuba has wind resources,” says the business development manager for Huayi International Power. “We already installed five sets in Chile so the standard (of the) technology is same as Chile here.”

This week Cuba signed an agreement with Zhejiang, the fourth largest province in China, in terms of GDP. It lays down the legal framework to increase trade and commerce and investment.

“China has become our second largest trade partner in the world, and one of the most important destinations for our exports,’ told the audience Ruben Ramos, vice-president of the Cuba Chamber of Commerce. ‘So, too, between our countries there has been important cooperation in areas such as transport, solar energy, agriculture, industry and other sectors.”

China is playing an increasingly visible role in the Cuban economy.

But despite meetings between the chambers of commerce from both countries, some here believe the pace at which trade, commerce and investment between Cuba and China grows is still too slow.

Economist Omar Everleny says the volume of trade with China has remained constant in the past 10 years. He thinks China, but also other countries, should have a greater presence in Cuba’s economy.

“There is a plateau, more or less two billion dollars, of commerce with China,’ explains the university professor. For us it is important, as well as better relations with the U.S., to diversify the portfolio. You can’t have all the eggs in the same basket. Despite the short distance and costs with the United States, we can’t depend on just one market as we had before the revolution. In this new world, Asia is important, China, but also Vietnam and Japan are the countries with which we have to trade more.”

From energy to industry, to connecting people here with the world, China is set to play a wider role in the changes to Cuba’s economy, the only question is how fast those changes take place.

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