By Pilar Montes
HAVANA TIMES — “It was a very successful mission,” said Lord Hutton of Furness, co-chairman of the Cuba Initiative, after signing direct investment agreements between British and Cuban companies for 400 million dollars.
The legislator headed a trade mission that brought executives from 32 UK companies on an exploratory business visit that led to agreements to invest in the sectors of energy, agriculture and tourism infrastructure, including the construction “of a new golf course” at one of the country’s resort areas.
During their three-day visit, the businessmen met with ministers Rodrigo Malmierca, Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, and Alfredo Lopez, of Energy and Mines, as well as visited the Mariel Special Development Zone, located at a new mega port 45 km west Havana.
After describing the visit as successful, Hutton said that the mission came at the right time and that progress was made.
The golf course, sport much sought after by European and American tourists, and known as the sport of kings, will be the second to be built in Cuba with British capital. The first luxury club being built by Esencia Hotels and Resorts group near Varadero, 140 km east of Havana, at a cost of 350 million dollars.
Germany is the European country sending the most tourists to Cuba, followed by France and England in third place, with 43.222 between January and March 2015. Bilateral trade was 168 million dollars in 2013, the latest official figure published.
The British trade mission was preceded only this month by business persons from Spain, Hungary, Holland, Jamaica and representations of the states of Texas and New York, the latter two encouraged by the process of rapprochement between the governments of the United States and Cuba.