By Pilar Montes
HAVANA TIMES — Over 30 British businessmen don’t want to be left behind by other Europeans who have visited Cuba in recent weeks, including from Spain, Hungary and the Netherlands, to see for themselves the trade and investment opportunities offered by the Cuban government.
Cuba Initiative, a Cuban-British project created in 1995 with the support of the Chambers of Commerce of Cuba and London, prepared the business seminar at the Hotel Cohiba. The delegation was the largest and most representative of its kind in a decade, noted UK ambassador Tim Cole.
Among the fields of interest for the business executives are the potential in the sectors of energy, mining, tourism, biotechnology, agriculture, and transportation.
The three-day seminar concludes on Thursday with bilateral appointments and a visit the Mariel Special Development Zone, where 25 of the 246 foreign investment projects offered by the Cuban government are found.
The plenary session on Tuesday was led by the President of the Chamber of Commerce of Cuba, Orlando Hernandez, who welcomed the entrepreneurs and highlighted the historical moment of greater rapprochement and growth in bilateral relations.
The presidents of the Chamber of Commerce of Cuba and London, Orlando Hernandez and Colin Stanbridge, respectively, signed a memorandum of understanding and cooperation between the two entities. Present for the signing were the co-chairs of Cuba Initiative, Lord Hutton of Furness and Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca,
The program included presentations on the Foreign Investment Law and the projects open to foreign capital, as well as the steps for doing business in Cuba by officials of the Cuban Chamber.
The visitors listened to an assessment of the performance of the Cuban economy in 2014 and the prospects for 2015 and beyond, by Dr. Juan Triana Cordoví, and also a conference on the taxation system and financial situation by Dr. Everleny Perez.
According to figures provided at the meeting, Cuba conducts 27 percent of its foreign trade with Europe. The UK is fifth after Spain, Holland, Italy and France.