The development of trade and investments among Cuban enterprises is gaining strength as an alternative, in an economic situation in which the country’s financial limitations are threatening the expansion of leading sectors like tourism. The 4th Business Fair returned to the ExpoCuba fairgrounds from May 10 to 25 to encourage the rapprochement and exchange among local producing, services and commercial entities.
Faithful to the reason for which it was created four years ago, this business meeting is an opportunity to sign contracts with suppliers and markets, in the process of the preparation of the 2018 Economic Plan. In this space, the exhibitors are also reorienting the inventories, affected in many entities by the accumulation and inactivity the government has insistently denounced as a problem for the Cuban economy.
Economy and Planning Minister Ricardo Cabrisas described the Fair as an “opportunity to promote new products and services that will allow us to use the country’s resources and substitute imports in favour of the development of the national economy.”
Although the state-run enterprises are leading the participation, the event is promoting the exchange between the multiple forms of ownership and business management active in the Cuban economy. Out of some 300 exhibiting entities, 262 are state-run, 15 are joint ventures and eight are non-agricultural services and production cooperatives.
Faced by the presence last year of fewer exhibitors, Deputy Economy and Planning Minister René Hernández explained to the press that “the Fair’s competence cannot only be assessed by the number of entities participating as exhibitors, but rather by the exchanges that are generated here.”
According to several participants, the interest in this forum is growing among Cuban entrepreneurs as an opportunity to meet the production and services aims of their enterprises and of the country. However, Hernández recognised the persistent mistakes in planning, which demonstrates the poor use that is still made of this fair.
“Many of the rectifications in the economic plan we have to face in the first months of the year are due to the lack of foresight and coordination with the suppliers, that the amount of necessary inputs is not correctly planned – be they nationally produced or imported -, to the inadequate use of this space,” the official said.
The reduction of the dependence on imports continues being among the aims of the Cuban economy for 2018, which the 4th Business Fair aims to give a response. Another objective is to accompany the dynamic growth of tourism and commerce through production linkages toward the interior of the economy.
The Economy Ministry, the organiser of the fair, is increasingly using with greater emphasis this meeting to channel urgent solutions, like the participation of the national industry in the supply for tourism. During the business forum’s two weeks the food and fisheries industries are presenting dairy, meat and other food products for the hotel industry.
The director of quality and operation of the Tourism Ministry, MaríadelPilarMacías, recognised that large amounts of money are still set aside for the purchase abroad of commodities that could be produced in Cuba.
The deputy economy minister also asked that “the investment projects linked to the country’s development programmes be given a boost and to speed up the efficient and timely use of the foreign financing offers.”
Through the conciliation of interests among entrepreneurs, the Fair has been pointing since its beginnings to guaranteeing macroeconomic balances, development programmes and advances in the process of transformation of the economic structure. (2017)
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