Following closely on the heels of the Cuba Initiative’s Trade and Investment Forum, the Cuba Business Forum is now underway at the Hotel Nacional in Havana.
The Cuba Business Forum has been organized by Cuban Chamber of Commerce (Camara de Comercio Cuba) and co-sponsored by the European Commission (EC) and the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA).
The Cuba Business Forum is a collaboration between the EC and Cuba within the framework of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation bilateral agreement signed in November of 2017.
Four panels will be focusing on foreign capital investment in Cuba in the context of the current scenario.
In attendance at the Business Forum were the Minister of Foreign Investment and Trade, Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz, the President of the Cuban Chamber of Commerce, Orlando Hernández Guillén, representatives from the European Union (EU), ECLAC, a number of diplomats posted to Cuba, and business persons from the Island and abroad.
Approximately 120 executives, academics, lawyers and scholars of trade and international economy were in the audience, signifying there is still interest from the global community to invest in Cuba.
In his opening remarks, Minister Malmierca greeted the Forum’s guests and made reference to the measures in force against Cuba:
“What was designed to distance us from Cuba has just the opposite effect. It brings us even closer, in the firm purpose of defending our legitimate common interests.”
The EU Commissioner Niuven Mimica also gave an opening speech and pointed out that the EU strongly opposes the blockade and will, in accordance with EU policies, pledge support to European companies who invest in Cuba.
A working meeting was held during the Business Form between Commissioner Mimica and Minister Malmierca in which they agreed on the positive progress in cooperation and the willingness to expand it in priority sectors such as food security and renewable energy. They have decided to finance Comex and the one-stop shop project.
Hugo Beteta, director of ECLA and strong proponent of multilateralism also spoke this morning and strongly rejected the extraterritorial blockade of the Helms Burton law against Cuba in his speech at the Business Forum.
Carlos Gutierrez, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce and chairman of the Albright Stonebridge Group touched on the subject of the U.S. government’s current political irrationality.
Today in his Twitter account, Minister Malmierca emphasized the fierce rejection of Helms Burton and the blockade against Cuba.
“We make it clear that we will never be overthrown with threats. We will continue to move forward with foreign investment and support businesses in our country.”
Well stated, indeed, as a legitimate declaration by any independent and sovereign nation.