UK insists on trading with Cuba despite US sanctions

World Today

Cuba and the UK are moving to expand cooperation and trade despite U.S. opposition. A British delegation has been in Cuba this week exploring new business and investment opportunities. CGTN’s Luis Chirino has the details.

Nearly 30 British entrepreneurs met with their counterparts during a business session, which was opened by Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel and Lord David Triesman, who headed the British delegation.

For two days, both sides explored new trade opportunities in areas such as biotechnology, financial services and renewable energy. This despite Washington’s recent decision to permit U.S. citizens to file lawsuits against foreign companies doing business in Cuba.

Referring to this measure, Lord Triesman said that, “London has no intention of simply agreeing to allow extraterritorial litigation to go without a proportional response.”

For nearly a quarter century, U.S. presidents have blocked such lawsuits – included in Title III of the Helms Burton Law or “Libertad Act” – until this year. Cuban trade officials said the Trump administration reversed this policy to scare away potential investors.

But countries like the U.K., which is a traditional U.S. ally, have held to their determination to build a healthy trade and commercial relations with Cuba.

Chris Bennett, who serves as the managing director of the Caribbean Council which created the Cuba Initiative, says the island should expect to see more British investment.

“The British want to see security of their investment and they want to see a return of their investment,” he explained. “If they are confident that they will have their investment secured and safe here in Cuba, which can be and will be, and they can see the return of their profits over the years in their investment, they will come, and they will invest here.”

“They already have, and they’ve been very happy,” he noted.

Cuba’s Foreign Trade and Investment Minister Rodorigo Malmierca, who is co-chair of the Cuba Initiative, recalled recent visits to London by the Cuban President Diaz-Canel and to Cuba by the Prince of Wales as major factors that aided in relaunching the bilateral trade and investment program.

The Cuba Initiative, founded in 1995, has been instrumental in supporting bilateral projects in agriculture, renewable energies, and backed financial services and tourism.