Cuba kicks off 35th Havana International Trade Fair 2017

HAVANA – Cuba opened up the 35th Havana International Trade Fair (FIHAV 2017) on Monday with the presence of 3,400 businesses and exhibitors from 70 countries in the Latin American country’s quest to attract foreign investment and diversify its economy which currently faces “financial limitations.”

“Cuba faces short-term financial limitations but the high participation of businessmen, official delegations and exhibitors in this fair once more shows the interest of the international community to do business with our country,” said Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca, at the event’s inauguration.

Malmierca said Cuba has continued paying its international debts but lately the country hasn’t been able to do so in time due to “financial constraints.”

“Cuba ratifies its will to pay its international partners and redouble its efforts to continue advancing in its economic model,” he said.

He also referred to the recent setback in relations with the U.S. and said the economic decisions announced by President Donald Trump in June only benefit a minority, the Xinhua reported.

“The decisions of the president of the United States ignore the interests of large sectors of that nation, particularly the business community,” he said.

The fair will host the second edition of the Cuban business opportunity forum, an event which will be inaugurated by Malmierca on Tuesday and aims to provide businessmen with information about foreign investment in the country and networking with local partners.

At the event, Cuba showcases its goods and services in a pavilion that brings together more than 300 companies and entities from all economic sectors, including the Mariel Special Development Zone, the government’s flagship project to attract foreign capital.

A new law on foreign investment was approved in 2014 by Cuba’s parliament which provides a favorable economic and investment environment for companies to set up joint ventures in the country.

The week-long event will feature business meetings, presentations and roundtables where companies from all over the world will seek to make deals with Cuban firms and other nations.

China, which in 2016 became Cuba’s top trading partner, will have a showcase presentation of its pavilion on Tuesday, an event at which top Cuban government officials are expected.

The Cuba-China joint business committee will hold its annual meeting on Thursday in the framework of the trade fair.