Exports, Key at FIHAV 2015
By: Cira Rodríguez César
The Cuban Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Foreign Trade and Investment are encouraging local entrepreneurs to take part in the 33rd International Havana Fair (FIHAV 2015), which this year will focus on promoting export.
The trade fair is the biggest meeting of its kind on the island and one of the most important in Latin America and the Caribbean. This year it will provide an opportunity to exhibit the export potential of the nation's industrial and service sectors.
Organizers pointed out that in order to promote production capacities, the host country's whole exhibition area has been reserved for entrepreneurs. Around 4,500 exhibitors from more than sixty countries are expected at this year's FIHAV, which will cover an exhibition space of around 20,000m2.
The trade fair promotes Cuba's economic ties and trade relations with the rest of the world, and usually welcomes more than 150,000 local visitors, as well as state and business delegations from around the world. Since the first fair in 1982, FIHAV has taken place every year and as always each sector of the Cuban economy will be represented. It will be a vast exhibition of both national and international products, the ideal venue for exhibitors and visitors to connect, do business, identify new associates, exchange information and keep up with tech developments.
Participants will also have the chance to get information on the opportunities presented by Cuba's new Foreign Investment Law 118 (approved in March, 2014), which presents a wide and attractive investment portfolio designed to promote and strengthen trade connections that contribute capital and invest in technology and new markets.
Prioritizing construction, energy, commerce, industry, agriculture, forests, sugar, tourism and transport as well as the pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries, the portfolio aims to boost development and update the country's economic model, and is made up of 246 well thought-out projects in key sectors with a total worth of $8.7 billion US dollars.
In the first eight months of this year alone, the Chamber of Commerce's Foreign Investment Promotion Group received an encouraging 170 expressions of interest, from potential investors in Italy, Germany, China, Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Canada, Portugal and France amongst other countries.
Even countries with no existing Cuban trade links have expressed interest in investing, such as the Cayman Islands and Australia.
FIHAV will also highlight the investment opportunities afforded by the Mariel Special Zone Development. This project will see a special commercial zone set up at the port of Mariel some 100km west of Havana, and has been featured at the fair over the past two years. Five goods and services projects, fully funded by foreign investment, have already been approved but many opportunities remain.
As the organizers revealed, this year's fair will also be the first since Havana was named one of the world's most wonderful cities last December, as part of the New7Wonders project - another reason to make a trip to the city in to visit Expocuba, which has hosted FIHAV for the past 33 years.