EU and Cuba Close to Signing Bilateral Agreement

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Two years of negotiations should be finalized this week between the EU and Cuba.  The European Union met with Cuban government officials last week in an attempt to finalize approximately two years of negotiations.  It was previously hoped that an agreement between the EU and Cuba could be finalized by the end of 2015.  The rush to improve relations is, without a doubt, spurred on by Cuba’s improved relations with the United States.

Over the past year, individual European nations have also been meeting with the Cuban government to discuss trade relations.  Those nations in discussions, some already with signed deals include: Austria, Spain, Germany, France, Britain and the Netherlands.

American corporate giants such as Dow Chemical, Johnson & Johnson, Google, Microsoft, Dell, U.S. Airlines and representatives of the US Agriculture sector have all been calling on the US government to relax trade restrictions against Cuba. US business deals and an agreement between the two countries are difficult with the US embargo still in place.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini was in Havana this week to discuss politics, trade and aid with the Cuban government.  Cuba and the EU are close to signing an accord defining bilateral relations.

Chief EU negotiator Christian Leffler told a press conference that,

“If between today and next week we can advance still more in the negotiations to finalize an agreement, clearly we would be happy, but this is an accord that has to serve us for many years.”

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