Cuba and China united by the New Silk Road

On December 23, Cuban Deputy Prime Minister Ricardo Cabrisas Ruiz and the President of the National Commission for Development and Reform of China, He Lifeng , signed the Cooperation Plan between the Government of the Republic of Cuba and the Government of the People’s Republic of China. for the joint promotion of the Economic Belt of the Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century. This document makes effective the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two governments in November 2018 for the inclusion of Cuba in the Belt and Road Initiative .

” The Memorandum was prepared in correspondence with the economic and social development objectives of Cuba, in which China participates as a strategic partner “, reads the Cuban newspaper Granma . ” The articles of the Cooperation Plan include the intentions of both sides to strengthen and promote bilateral cooperation in priority sectors for Cuba, such as infrastructure development, education, culture, health and biotechnology, communications, science and technology and tourism, among other areas. Projects and actions are also agreed that include interests of mutual benefit, with the aim of further strengthening and diversifying the ties between Cuba and China, as well as with third countries that are members of this initiative.”.

This agreement corroborates the longstanding friendship between Cuba and the People’s Republic of China, so much so that Havana was the first Latin American government to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing in 1960. The Asian country is now Cuba’s second trading partner, the second country by origin of imports and the first as destination of its exports of products such as rum, tobacco, sugar and coffee.

The signing of the document was preceded, on the same day, by the meeting held by President Miguel Díaz-Canel some of the Chinese investors on the island of Cuba. According to what reported by the Cuban press, the head of state analyzed the preparations to start the technological reconversion project of Empresa Gráfica Habana which is being advanced under a loan from the Asian government. ” The initiative will allow the printing of newspapers in the western part of the island, as well as books, magazines, notebooks and other graphic resources “, reads Prensa Latina . Thanks to the collaboration with China, the printing house in the Cuban capital will have the most advanced machinery on the Latin American continent at its disposal.

Cuba received from China the largest floating dock in the Caribbean

Díaz-Canel also visited the branch of Yutong, a Chinese company that is engaged in the production of hybrid buses in Cuba. ” The president thanked the company, present in the country since 2005, for its support, having become the main supplier of equipment for the development of public transport ”, continues Prensa Latina . From his official Twitter account , the Cuban president stressed that the tour allowed him to verify the seriousness and rigor with which Chinese companies work in Havana, and recalled that China and Cuba are united by ” intimate and historical “. 

On December 22, the Cuban ambassador in Beijing, Carlos Miguel Pereira had instead held a seminar in China on the socio-economic transformations underway in Cuba. The ambassador began by referring to the negative effect for his country in the 2020 phase. 21 of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resurgence of the economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed on the United States. Later, ” he commented on the gradual recovery thanks to the effective response against the disease, the high rates of vaccination with own products and the reopening of borders “, reads Prensa Latina .

Continuing his speech, ” the diplomat addressed his government’s strategy to relaunch the economy and indicated among the priorities the promotion of national production, the obtaining of food, the autonomy of businesses and a greater attraction of foreign investments “. Ambassador Pereira added that ” Cuba is ready to increase its exports of high quality services in sectors such as health, education and tourism, and also to exploit the potential for cooperation in other fields “.

After the ambassador’s inaugural speech, Juan Alberto Kelly , head of the embassy’s economic-commercial office, detailed the structures, policies, perspectives and innovations to attract foreign capital and expand business opportunities in sectors strategic, noting that there are currently 678 active projects on the island in sectors such as food production, tourism, industry and construction, among others.

The Sinocuban agreement is a new piece that adds to the expansion of economic relations maintained by Beijing with the countries of Latin America. Wang Ping, professor at Nankai University and vice president of the Association of Latin American History of China, wrote in the Global Times : “ In general, the continued deepening of China-Latin America cooperation is a long-term trend. The common identity as developing economies and the common aspiration for internal development and international equity have brought inexhaustible momentum for both sides, and this momentum will continue long into the future ”.

SOURCE: Workers Today, 26 Dec 2021.

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