Canada in Cuba’s Trade Fair
By Lourdes Pérez Navarro, Photos by José Meriño and Vladimir Molina
More than 40 Canadian business firms displayed their products and services at Havana’s 29th International Trade Fair (FIHAV for its Spanish acronym), apparently encouraged by the fruitful results in trade between the northern country and Cuba which, according to official estimates, recorded a 30% increase last year
The great Cuban get-together of trade and business was held this year from October 31st to November 5th in the spacious facilities of Expocuba, the island’s largest exhibition centre located on spacious grounds on the outskirts of Havana.
There, the Canada Pavilion occupied more than 780 square metres of exhibition space with 26 booths that were visited by business persons and the general public, all interested in the display of the North American giant.
At the opening of the Pavilion the Canadian Ambassador in Cuba, Matthew Levin, praised the relations existing between the two nations. He noted that despite difference in culture, climate and political and economic systems, these ties “have always been based on an open dialogue and mutual respect in the pursuit of mutual benefits.”
Canada maintains itself as Cuba’s third largest trading partner and is second only to Spain with major investments in various strategic sectors of the island, among them mining, agriculture, tourism, and food production, according to Cuban Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, Oscar Pérez Oliva.
During a visit to Canada’s exhibition Pavilion, Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero said that this northern power also confirms its status as the first source of tourists to Cuba and of maintaining the upward trend of the arrival of Canadian vacationers.
More than 800,000 Canadian tourists have visited Cuba in the period from January to November 2011. At the end of this year that figure is expected to exceed one million vacationers from that country.
In this annual edition of FIHAV, the presence of Canadian businesses was highlighted, with companies such as Air Transat Cargo, Cap Antillas Inc., Denson Automation Inc., First Caribe Trading Corp., Galax Inc., King City Equipment Inc., Interex Canada Inc. and Taina (Rido Sales) Canada Ltd., among others. Fair days were conducive to bilateral contact, negotiations and the exchange of experiences.
Among the business transactions carried out is the signing of three agreements between the Canadian company, Ontario Ltd., and the Cuban Ministry of Transportation. These will benefit the national rail industry with the supply of spare parts for engines and passenger cars.
According to the organizers of FIHAV 2011, this international exhibition was attended by representatives of 1,500 companies from 57 countries. By the end of the Fair numerous contracts were registered totalling more than $300 million dollars in this, the largest commercial showcase of the Caribbean.