Catalonia and Cuba sign their first trade agreement ever aimed at boosting trade relations between the two countries

23 Nov 2016

  • This agreement will provide the foundations for the arrival of new Catalan companies in Cuba, which increased their exports to this country by 50% last year. 
  • The Minister of Business and Knowledge, Jordi Baiget, signed the agreement in Havana last Thursday with PROCUBA, part of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment in the country. 
  • Baiget said that the signing of this agreement "will give more opportunities to Catalan productive activity so that it can export and invest in Cuba."

On Thursday morning, Catalonia and Cuba signed a trade agreement in Havana that, for the first time ever, aims to strengthen trade relations between both countries. It is a memorandum of understanding signed by the Minister of Business and Knowledge, Jordi Baiget and Roberto Verrier, the director of the centre PROCUBA, the organization of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment of Cuba that promotes the internationalization of the Cuba’s business community. 

This agreement is one of the cornerstones of the new commercial relationship between the two countries. Thus, as the memorandum of understanding lays out, Cuba will give information to Catalonia on the investment opportunities presented by the region with the goal of promoting the arrival of new Catalan businesses to Cuba and encourage investment in this country. It also contemplates the participation of business delegations held in both countries. 

As the Minister of Business and Knowledge, Jordi Baiget, explained, the signing of this agreement"is a significant moment" because it represents the "capacity for direct dialogue with the Cuban government with those in charge of foreign investment and trade promotion abroad.This will give more opportunities to the Catalan productive activity so that it can export and invest in Cuba" he said. 

The agreement was signed within the framework of an event with the Cuban Chamber of Commerce, which represents 80% of economic activity in the country through its 700 associated companies. During the session, the minister Baiget explained to the Cuban business community that Catalan exports into their country have grown constantly in recent years. The highest increase took place in 2015, with a 50% increase in exports over the previous year, reaching 294 million euros. Those sectors showing most sales to Cuba are machinery, paints and dyes, plastics, electrical equipment and vehicles. The minister announced that 1,032 Catalan companies are currently exporting to Cuba and 30.5% of sales in Spain in this country are from Catalan companies. 

Moreover, the Chamber of Commerce of Cuba has signed an agreement with the Council of Chambers of Catalonia, in which both institutions are committed to fostering economic cooperation and promoting trade among organizations and companies of the Republic of Cuba and companies in Catalonia. Thus, they will undergo a regular exchange of information in matters of foreign trade, the export offer of the relevant companies, and trends in investments and the market. One other function will be the exchange of information on trade and economic laws applied in their jurisdictions. 

The Catalan Government Trade Mission to Panama and Cuba 

The signing of this agreement takes place during the celebration of the institutional and trade mission to Panama and Cuba organized by the Catalan Government via Catalonia Trade & Investment – and led by Minister Baiget and the Minister for Territory and Sustainability, Josep Rull – and also coincides with the Port of Barcelona’s mission in these two countries. In total, 49 companies are participating to perform market prospection and to look for new business opportunities in Panama and Cuba. 

In Cuba, the Catalan companies are investigating the market and exploring business opportunities in the context of the Foreign Investment Act and Investment Opportunities Portfolio, which outline the country's needs for the coming years. In this regard, this highlights the auxiliary industry for transport infrastructures and building materials with the aim of modernizing roads, reconstruction of industrial zones and rehabilitation of old buildings, for example. Similarly, it is estimated that tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in the near future, with opportunities both in terms of infrastructures and for the food industry and the agricultural sector. Thus, the aim is that Catalan companies continue strengthening the historical bonds created between Catalonia and Cuba in recent decades. In fact, the delegation will visit the Catalan Centre in Havana, opened in 1840.

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