The 33rd Havana International Fair (FIHAV 2015) ran from the 2nd to the 7th of November. Showing off the best of its exportable goods and services, Cuba proved that its economic, commercial and social development are safe bets for the future.
Bringing together businesspeople from over seventy countries, and some nine hundred entities including twenty-five from the US, this prestigious Cuban trade fair spanned the twenty- two thousand square meter area of the Expocuba exhibition centre. The number of participants this year, the deals brought to fruition and the proven force of this year’s event made it stand out as the best fair for 15 years.
In the words of Cuban Commerce Minister Rodrigo Malmierca, the event bolstered confidence among economic partners. They could see products and services with high added value being promoted for export by a country which strictly honours its financial commitments - a fact that is growing its credibility and international reputation.
First-time participants United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Puerto Rico joined loyal stalwarts such as Spain, Venezuela, China and Canada, while Thailand, Japan, Bulgaria and Curaçao made reappearances following periods of absence.
The opening of the Canadian pavilion on Canada Day was attended by Quebec’s International Relations and Francophone Minister Christine St Pierre, as well as Canada’s ambassador to Cuba Yves Gagnon and Cuba’s Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero.
In 2014, Cuban-Canadian trade exceeded two billion Canadian dollars, an increase of 5% on the previous year. The Cuban Tourism Minister pointed out that “with this volume of commerce, Canada has risen from fifth to fourth place among Cuba’s most important trade partners.” He also underlined that in August 2015 Cuban- Canadian trade had already gained another 4.1% on last year, enough to keep Canada in fourth position this year behind Venezuela, China and Spain. Canada is also the second-largest investor in businesses founded in Cuba with foreign capital.
With respect to tourism, Marrero stated that more Canadians visit Cuba than any other nationality and that so far this year over a million Canadians have visited the island, representing 38% of the total number of holidaymakers. Canadian representative Christine St Pierre expressed how honoured she was to be the first such minister to make an official visit to Cuba. She reemphasized the ties between the two nations and urged the businesspeople of her country to continue along this path of collaboration.