Vietnamese enterprises seek business at Cuba international fair

Tuesday, Nov 05, 2013 16:25

The 31st Havana International Fair takes place at the Expocuba Center in Havana, Cuba.— Photo Xinhua

HAVANA (Biz Hub)— A delegation of 24 Vietnamese enterprises led by the Viet Nam Trade Promotion Agency is attending the 31st Havana International Trade Fair in Cuba.

Most are in the fields of foodstuffs, garments and textiles, electronics, construction materials and crafts. According to the agency, the firms were looking for business partners and investment opportunities in Cuba and Latin America, in addition to promoting Vietnamese brands.

The event, which will last until November 9, attracted about 1,400 companies from 64 countries. This made it the largest edition in the past 11 years, with the greatest number of exhibitors coming from Spain, Venezuela, Brazil, South Korea, Panama and Germany, organisers said.

Many new products will be presented at the fair, including three types of rum and cigars. The central attraction is the Mariel Port, located 45 kilometers west of Havana and poised to become one of the largest container shipping ports in the Caribbean after an expansion of the Panama Canal is completed in 2015. One of the main goals of the fair is to attract more foreign investment into this new special development zone.

Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca is scheduled to give a speech Tuesday touting the benefits of investing in the port development zone, which offers companies tax breaks and other incentives to establish production operations there.

In recent weeks, Malmierca toured Vietnam, China and Russia to promote new investment opportunities in Cuba. Brazil, which largely bankrolled the Mariel Port project, voiced interest in investing in the development zone.

Havana decided to build the new port after concluding in 2009 that the Bay of Havana could not be expanded to accommodate the larger ships that would begin passing through the Panama Canal in 2015.

The US$900 million project was launched in 2010 as a Cuba-Brazil joint venture. The first 700-meter stretch of dock is scheduled to be ready in December and to be officially inaugurated by Cuban President Raul Castro and his Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff in January 2014. — VNS/Xinhua

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