On Wednesday, the 11th meeting of the Trade Committee between Cuba and Russia was inaugurated in Havana, aimed at exploring opportunities for Russian investment in Cuba in sectors such as agri-food, technology or retail trade.
Led by Boris Titov, President Vladimir Putin’s commissioner for businessmen’s rights and one of the most influential officials on trade issues, 52 Russian businessmen and women began two days of meetings with a hundred of their Cuban colleagues at the Hotel National.
Titov, head of the Cuban-Russian trade committee, said at the opening of the meeting that Cuba had decisively opened the doors for his country to invest in the island, and cited as an example the transfer of Cuban land to Russian agricultural producers. Have given. ,
The official pointed out that Cuba would also guarantee exemption of various tariffs to Russian companies for the import of high-tech products and allow the companies to repatriate profits, another important advantage in the island where the economy dominates. State.
He also indicated that the Cubans offered mechanisms for returning profits to Russia and speeding up procedures for officializing joint ventures, as well as the possibility of operating in local currencies, the ruble and the Cuban peso.
Another proposed advantage is the establishment of a sea port line, given the distance between the two nations, in the style used when the Soviet Union existed.
“A lot is being done for Russian investors, there are preferential conditions,” Titov said at the opening of the business forum.
In recent months, Cuba has sought to attract investors from Russia and other politically allied countries in an effort to shore up its battered economy.
Russia, also hit by sanctions due to the war in Ukraine, has moved in recent months to strengthen its economic ties with Havana and considers it an ally along with other Latin American countries.
Cuban Foreign Trade Minister Ricardo Cabrisas said in a statement to the official Cuban press that “no one will be able to stop” the expansion of economic ties between Russia and Cuba.
Russia’s trade representative in Havana, Sergei Baldin, said bilateral trade between the two countries is set to reach $450 million in 2022, tripling the previous year.
About 90% of the trade on the island was for the sale of oil derivatives and Russian soybean oil; While the Eurasian country receives rum, coffee and cigars from Cuba.
Bilateral trade is set to reach $633 million in 2021 and $320 million in 2020, according to data cited by the Associated Press agency.
By the start of the war with Ukraine, Russia had also become a major source of tourists to Cuba.
In November 2022, Miguel Díaz-Canel visited Moscow with a large entourage and with an agenda focused on energy.
In January this year Titov was in Havana and in April it was Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who visited Cuba as part of a tour that also included Brazil, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
It was also reported in April that cards from the Russian Mir payment system were already enabled in the island’s banks, converting rubles into Cuban pesos and generating facilities for travelers.
In the political arena, Cuba has not condemned the war with Ukraine and has maintained its position on the need for dialogue to resolve the crisis.