Spain is continuing to manoeuvre intensely to establish itself in the Cuban economy before the U.S. competition enters the scene; or to wait in a better position for the opportunities the Spanish businesspeople are already beginning to see. Representatives of both governments met in Havana this week, at the same time as a business forum studied new options to finance and strengthen investments and bilateral trade.
Industry, Energy and Tourism Minister José Manuel Soria headed the Spanish delegation, made up by more than 80 companies and Commerce Undersecretary Jaime García-Legaz. Before leaving, Soria said that the visit sought support for new Spanish companies interested in establishing themselves in Cuba, where “a scene full of opportunities” is opening up today. The high-ranking official expressed Madrid’s interest in “boosting bilateral relations in general and particularly increasing and helping Spanish investments in Cuba.
During a meeting with Cuban Vice President Ricardo Cabrisas and Foreign Trade and Investments Minister Rodrigo Malmierca and Energy and Mines Minister Alfredo López, the Spanish government representatives analysed channels to increase ties and draw up memorandums of understanding in industry, energy, tourism and telecommunications and foreign trade. “That joint disposition will lead to new projects for the development of strategic sectors for Cuba,” said Soria.
In this way the Spaniards are expanding their presence in areas less explored until now. The minister recognised that his country has had in industry, telecommunications and energy a much less active participation than in tourism.
The Spanish Company for Financing and Development (COFIDES) in June opened a public financing line for projects of that country’s companies wishing to invest in Cuba, with “an initial amount of 40 million euros (some 44 million dollars) up to 2017 and which can be expanded,” García-Legaz announced on that occasion. Meanwhile, the Banco de España is willing to free the credits granted for new investments on the island.
Soria described the dialogue with the hosts as “short, but intense and productive.”
The visiting companies included the Domingo Alonso Group (Automotive), the Cordial Group (Tourism and Hotel and Catering) and Singular Factory (New Technologies).
Cuban Foreign Trade and Investments Deputy Minister Ileana Núñez recognised the important participation of Spanish businesspeople in this Caribbean country, even in times of the greatest economic difficulty.
Spain, the third trade partner after Venezuela and China, continues being one of the countries with the most investments in the tourist sector. (2015)
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