China and Cuba Strengthen Trade Ties
Cuba’s Foreign Ministry (Minrex) announced meetings held between China’s Wang Chao, Vice Minister of Commerce, Zhang Tuo, China’s ambassador in Cuba, Ana Teresita Gonzalez, Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister, and Miguel Angel Ramirez, head of Asia and Oceania department at Minrex.
The visit and ensuing meetings this week were aimed at further development of trade relations between China and Cuba.
Cuba and China trade grew by $1.6 billion in the first three quarters of 2015, a remarkable increase of 57% further enhancing the Chinese reputation as the “traders of the world.” China is not affected by OFAC rules or U.S. restrictions on international banks. The trade relationship has been growing strong since the 1990s.
China’s involvement in Cuba includes tourism, transportation infrastructure, and the building of Cuba’s internet infrastructure.
Chinese tourism figures reached almost 29,000 visitors last year. They arrive via direct flights from Beijing to Havana.
Further enhancing the tourism sector is the Chinese company Beijing Enterprise Group which is constructing a golf course near Havana. It will include an 18 hole course, a marina, condominiums and a hotel.
As far as technology infrastructure goes, high tech firm Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd is in Cuba, in on a deal with ETECSA to supply smart phone training, parts and products. The company is also involved in a broadband fiber optic internet project in Havana.
Yutong and the state-owned CAISA bus-maker share a joint venture to supply buses to Cuba in transportation infrastructure revitalization.
The Chinese have also purchased a large warehouse structure in need of renovation in Havana. Whether it becomes an upscale market or condominiums is unknown. But all of this is in line with the Chinese ‘100-year’ game in the world of trade and business.
Chinese goods such as energy-saving household appliances fill Cuba’s stores and homes. If you want a fridge or TV in Cuba, you’ll be buying Chinese appliances. The only drawback is the price. What would cost you about $350 for a fridge in North America is going to cost you about $750 in Havana. It’s not rocket science but the distance your new fridge or TV travels from China to get to your home in Havana, doubles the price of the needed appliance.