Cuba Business

Cuban trade delegation in India looking for trade and credit line

Posted May 18, 2008 by publisher in Cuba Business.

A large Cuban trade delegation has arrived in India looking for cooperation in cars, pharmaceuticals, tourism and more. Of course, armed with its famous rum and cigars, the hardline communist state that is gradually opening up its economy to outsiders also has a lot on offer.

“Indian cars like the Nano and Maruti have a potential market in Cuba,” Miguel Angel Ramirez Ramos, Cuba’s ambassador to India, told IANS ahead of the arrival of a large trade delegation to New Delhi from Havana.

The 19-member delegation, led by Eduardo Escandell Amador, the deputy minister in Cuba’s ministry of foreign trade, arrived here Saturday night. They will be here for 12 days to hold interactions with Indian leaders, government officials and the captains of trade and industry.

The three major Indian outfits, FICCI, CII and Assocham will all hold separate meetings with the visitors from Cuba.

The fresh attempt to strengthen trade ties is both politically and economically savvy for India. With the Left parties as an important ally supporting the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, deepening ties with Cuba is important for India, which is seen to be close to the United States.

In addition, there are expectations that many foreign companies will try to get into Cuba once the economy opens up. A renewed dialogue on trade and economic ties between the two sides at this juncture can provide the Indian companies with the required launch pad to move into Cuba.

“India has assured us many times that its relations with the US and Cuba are on two different tracks. We are satisfied with that assurance,” Ramos said.

This is the biggest trade delegation that has come from Cuba to India and its arrival here at a time when Raul Castro has taken over the reins from his brother Fidel Castro as president of the country has raised expectations of deepening trade ties between the two sides.

India-Cuba trade that in the heydays of the 1980s was over $300 million has now dipped to $50 million.

“If we can bring it back to the 1980s’ level, it will be a great achievement,” Ramos said.

The ambassador also denied that Cuba was looking to open its economy as Raul Castro was in power. “From 2004 changes in our policies were brought in. In the last four years the economy has grown by 42.5 percent and every year it has been growing at 7.5 per cent,” Ramos said.

Tata’s Nano, which has caught the imagination of car manufacturers and buyers the world over, has huge potential in Cuba, says Ramos.

The Nano, better known as the “one lakh car” - available at $2,500 - is one of the cheapest four-wheelers available in the national or international market. The first batch of vehicles is scheduled to roll out by the yearend from the Tata’s new factory at Singur in West Bengal.

Though Indian cars can find a market in Cuba, there are a number of other areas where the two sides can cooperate. The trade delegation represents different sectors of Cuba, from pharmaceuticals and tourism to retail, energy and health.

And they have a lot more things to sell. From Cuban rum to cigars, everything will be on offer.

One of the reasons why trade and business between India and Cuba stagnated was because of the unavailability of a Line of Credit from New Delhi to Havana. Venezuela has become one of Cuba’s largest trading partners and the trade between the two sides is now over $7 billion.

But Asian giant China has also made its presence felt in Cuba. With soft loans to the island, China is today the largest provider of locomotives, light vehicles, and buses and the trade between the two sides has reached $3 billion.

The leadership in Havana wants New Delhi to provide it with similar soft loans or a Line of Credit to enhance trade between the two sides. Though mostly the delegation will be in Delhi, it will also spend two days in Mumbai and meet among others, senior executives of Tata International Ltd - the wing of the Tata Group that looks after trade, business, and foreign investments.

Member Comments

On May 18, 2008, publisher wrote:

“In the last four years the economy has grown by 42.5 percent and every year it has been growing at 7.5 per cent,” Ramos said.”

By Cuban accounting methods which are not available for independent audit so they can make up whatever numbers they want.

“One of the reasons why trade and business between India and Cuba stagnated was because of the unavailability of a Line of Credit from New Delhi to Havana.”

Read… if India won’t give us stuff on credit, we’re not buying.

Of course the debt will have to be “renegotiated” in the future meaning that the Cuban delegation is in India looking to trade cigars for cars.

Great for Cuba. Charity move for India.

Cuba has a LOOOOONG way to go before it joins the international economy. Sad really.

On May 18, 2008, arteest wrote:

Oh, come on. THings have to start SOMEWHERE. I am certainly no expert but it would seem that the Cuban economy is growing judging by the number of tourists going to the resorts. The rate was up this year and more hotels are being built. GAP Cuba trips are in their top 10 most booked trips (in the world) right now. People from other parts of the world want to see Cuba before it changes. I heard that in Cuba, in Europe, and up here in Canada.No one wants to see KFCs all over the place. And, maybe just maybe Cuba will be able to change and open it’s markets, increase trade, stabilise the economy, all without help from the US. Of the two major emerging economic forces, China is already there. India, the other, is next.

On May 19, 2008, arteest wrote:

Re: the “growing” Cuban economy… I don’t know how I could have failed to mention the oil deals Raul has made with Brazil,

On May 19, 2008, vapaday wrote:

Mr. Publisher, You should brush up on your History. India was one of the very few who stood by Cuba, when the rest of the world, at the behest of the USA, was dropping by the wayside like flies. We Indians take our friendships very seriously, and do not waver in the face of imperialism. Winston Churchill, the Great White Hope, learned this lesson the humble way, when the Great Mahthma Gandhi led the uprising to bring Britain to its knees. Further, India is playing a pivotal role in oil exploration off Cuba, and I have heard that it would be an ideal place to manufacture the new Nano Car, which would be perfect for the developing world,  given its affordability. Our brand of charity is true friendship, based on mutual respect, not the kind of convenient friendship as espoused by the Great Western powers. The shame, really, is reading all the spew from the peanut Gallery.

On May 19, 2008, publisher wrote:

Friendship is fine if you want to give away your products.

Is Cuba a charity or a country that is responsible for paying for the products it buys? And please don’t tell me they are poor because of the US Embargo.

They can trade with (or get free stuff from) any country in the world.

On May 19, 2008, arteest wrote:

Are you so sure of the particulars? The details of the relationship between Cuba and India that you can write this way?

On May 19, 2008, publisher wrote:

“One of the reasons why trade and business between India and Cuba stagnated was because of the unavailability of a Line of Credit from New Delhi to Havana…”


“The leadership in Havana wants New Delhi to provide it with similar soft loans or a Line of Credit to enhance trade between the two sides.”

Read… Cuba wants free stuff.

They don’t pay their bills. VERY well knows throughout the world. Not just my opinion.

On May 19, 2008, arteest wrote:

Where do these quotes come from?

On May 19, 2008, arteest wrote:

Never mind, I just reread the article. How can you can be so disbelieving regarding the accuracy of certain written pieces about Cuba, while being so opposite with this one? You’re swallowing hook, line, and sinker what this author has written. One source as the basis of your opinion is pretty dangerous, I would think.

On May 19, 2008, publisher wrote:

Written by India Times. I trust them.

They have independent media in India.

ALL media in Cuba is controlled by the Cuban government so it’s ALL propaganda.

So, it’s not just one source. I read at least 20 news articles a day about Cuba from every media source you can think of.

On May 19, 2008, arteest wrote:

They also have independent media in the States but not everything we read is factual. You know, the thought has crossed my mind that you are all for the rehabilitation of Cuba but only if the US is involved. Fighting words, I know….

On May 19, 2008, publisher wrote:

Fighting words are welcome here. No worries.

One thing that is missing is dialog about Cuba and US Cuba policy.

Everything may not be factual in the US but we all have the right to research it, protest it, correct it, rebut it, improve on it, etc.

In Cuba, you read Granma then wipe your ass with it. Seriously.

Cuba doesn’t need the US to be involved or even the Embargo to be lifted to be a great country. Cuba can and could have been a great country if the Cuban government didn’t lock down it’s people.

What bothers me everyday is that the Cuban government is designed to keep the Cuban people down and communism does not work.

Now if you want to go ahead and tell me how great the Cuban government is, I’ve heard it all before from agents of the Castro government pretending to be Canadians.

On May 19, 2008, arteest wrote:

I’m with you until “Now if you want to go ahead and tell me how great the Cuban government is, I’ve heard it all before from agents of the Castro government pretending to be Canadians” part. I know well how awful things are in Cuba. I guess I just have more hope that things are changing than you do. It is Latin America, after all. Time is slower there. grin

On May 20, 2008, vapaday wrote:

Mr. Publisher, The USA runs around the world coercing, “encouraging”, and even threatening other countries to follow our failed policies towards Cuba. The USA has levied huge fines against countries and businesses that do not follow us, lock step. Until very recently, Cuba was in a box, but with the advent of a new breed of Latin American Leadership, progressive European leaders, and the growth of China, Brazil, and India, the USA is becoming increasingly marginalized. The World Bank, a US proxy, is down to about $50 million in Loans, while the Bank of the South is now the dominant force. Your statement..“need the US to be involved..” smacks of hollow fantasy. Can Cuba get parts or technology for any product that has an iota of US placement? an unequivocal no! The USA even shut down a European website that promoted Cuban tourism! Cuba cannot use the World wide Internet…nor can US citizens travel to Cuba. Perhaps, it is time to stop the slamming and disingenuous arguments, and seek positive ways to impact the lives of Cubans. The USA makes enemies, other chose to have disagreements with us, and that is something we cannot accept!

On May 20, 2008, publisher wrote:


I actually agree with everything you said. If you read my comments in #12 I say Cuba DOESN’T need the US to be involved.

I am not in favor of the Embargo and if Cuba really wanted to be an economic Player on the world stage it could do so without the US.

Cuba is getting “aid” from Venezuela, China and soon India yet they still can’t make it work? That’s because the Cuban government does not want to enable the Cuban people to have any political or economic freedoms and that is NOT the fault of the US Embargo.

On May 20, 2008, vapaday wrote:

That is just your opinion, which is based on your view rather rhan being supported by the facts. Perhaps you can explain their advances in Bio Technology, or their success in opthamology, or perhaps have an explanation for, perhaps, the lowest mortality rate in the world, or even their successes in teaching reading and writing to the the least of the peoples in the developing world. It certainly does not sound like a nation which wants to stagnate. It is time we let go of the holier than thou attitude and celebrate the changes, not matter how small, and look forward to encouraging this Island towards a more open society.
This constant cacophony of doomsday messaging, only relegates good intelligent discourse to the sewer levels of the Miami Thugs. It is easy to constantly carp, and stage buffonary, appealing the base elements, while it is terribly difficult to set aside our prejudices.

On May 20, 2008, publisher wrote:

Funny that you use “Miami Thugs” yet tell me to set aside my prejudices.

It’s okay if you are a pro-communist from Cuba, I just wish you would say that you are working for the Cuban government.

You have played your hand my friend.

On May 20, 2008, arteest wrote:

If so, they certainly write well in Havana.

On May 26, 2008, publisher wrote:

This from the Cuban state run propaganda newsletter:

Cuba Explores Business Opportunities in India
Monday, May 26, 2008

Havana.- Cuban entrepreneurs are exploring business opportunities in India this month, as part of efforts to benefit from that market’s great potential.

A Cuban trade delegation met with members of the Indian Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The delegation’s schedule included a visit to Mumbai, India’s major economic hub.

According to experts, Indian companies are interested in doing business with Cuba in the pharmaceutical, automobile and food industries, power generation, and information technologies and telecommunications.

The Cuban delegation included businesspeople from the chemical, timber, sugar, and iron and steel industries, as well as the banking, transportation, textile, power generation and consumer’s products sectors.


Notice you don’t see any mention of the Cubans hitting up the Indians for credit.