New push in trade relations
15th Meeting of the Spanish-Cuban Trade Committee • Spanish Minister praises results
CUBAN and Spanish trade officials met this week at the Hotel Nacional in Havana with the purpose of giving a new boost to trade relations between the two countries.
The Spanish delegation to the 15th Meeting of the Hispanic-Cuban Business Committee was led by Javier Gómez Navarro, president of the Chambers of Commerce Higher Council, and the Cuban one by Raúl Becerra, president of the Chamber of Commerce.
In the opening session it was reported that trade between Spain and Cuba has been consistently growing, reaching a historic level in 2006, and that during the first half of 2007 performance was good, at a level of 400 million euros.
The atmosphere of trust and transparency between the participants from both countries has been one of the main accomplishments of the bilateral committee, according to Becerra, speaking during the first work session, while Gómez Navarro confirmed that the volume of trade between the two nations was at its highest in 2006.
The many opportunities for bilateral commercial cooperation were emphasized by Ernesto Lage Pérez and Juan Arenas, presidents of the Cuban and Spanish sections of the committee respectively. Alfonso Casanova, Cuban deputy minister of economy and planning, emphasized that the country is experiencing rapid economic growth, pointing out that the gross national product grew 11.8% in 2005, 12.6% the following year, while a growth rate of around 10% is expected in 2007.
For his part, José Juan Ruíz, deputy director of the Spanish Santander group, referred to economic opportunities in Latin America after three consecutive years of growth and Juan Manuel Presa, technical director of the Cuban Ministry of Basic Industry, spoke of the Energy Revolution being implemented across the country
There were comments on the development of tourism and foreign investment and possibilities for participation in this sector, and in industry and energy. Finally, the minutes of the 2007-08 working agreement were signed.
Cuba is the third most important market in Latin America for Spain, after Argentina and Mexico.
Leire Pajín, Spanish state secretary for international cooperation, expressed his satisfaction over the accomplishments of the meeting to the press.