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Posted May 31, 2003 by publisher in Business In Cuba

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BY MARELYS VALENCIA | Granma International staff writer [url=http://www.granma.com]http://www.granma.com[/url]

THE 12th Caribbean International Fair opens its doors on Sunday, June 8 for five days in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, bringing together business people from 31 countries, as well as government representatives and trade promotion organizations.

For the first time in the fair’s history – and with ever-increasing relevance – three events organized by the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) are to be run in parallel, with more than 30 member states taking part. The 4th Trade Promoters Forum (June 9), the 4th Business Forum (June 10-11), and the 12th ACS Committee for Business Development and External Relations (June 12) will contribute to bringing the nations of the region together to search for business opportunities, an exchange which is still considered to be too limited.

According to Odalys Seijo, director for International Affairs at the Cuban Chamber of Commerce, the development of such forums will help the Caribbean to gain important business contacts by identifying market opportunities for exports, and the supply of geographically closer basic resources.

The official told Granma International that this year, the Business Forum is be more focussed than last year’s edition to ensure greater participation by more countries and new opportunities for commercial exchange.

To date, there have been three Business Forums: the first on the island of Margarita, Venezuela in October, 2000; the second, a year later in Mexico City in which 159 firms, organizations and governmental institutions from 19 countries attended; and the third in Costa Rica in September 2002, with delegations from 12 countries comprising 188 firms and governmental bodies.

The meetings arose from the concern of ACS governments and heads of state to extend and fortify commercial relationships within the region. The conviction: access to markets alone is not enough to increase trade; a unique commercial culture for the Caribbean as a whole is needed. As well as this forum, the Trade Promotions Organizations will also be meeting with the aim of forging cooperation among the various members of the community.

Held annually since 1992, the Santiago de Cuba Caribbean Fair traditionally held in the Heredia Conference Center is to present more than 35 sectors of the national economy. To date, some 2,500 square meters of exhibition space in almost 80% of the center’s patio and outside areas have been booked.

The program also includes workshops debating regional themes of interest such as investment, the service industry, transportation, financial mechanisms and tourism.

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