Overview of the meeting (Source: dangcongsan.vn)
Hanoi (VNA) – The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Cuban Embassy in Hanoi jointly held a Vietnam-Cuba business meeting in Hanoi on June 29, creating a chance to update Vietnamese businesses on the economic and foreign trade situation of Cuba in its renovation period and to seek new partnerships.

During the event, Vietnamese firms had direct exchange with Gecomex Group, a leading Cuban import-export enterprise holding 35 percent of the country’s total imports and 15 percent of its exports.

According to Gicomex General Director Aurelio Mollineda, the largest and only foreign trade group in Cuba earned an average yearly revenue of over 4 billion USD, mainly from importing and exporting goods and services, headhunting, consultation and auditing services, goods checking and logistics.

Currently, Gecomex is shipping abroad agricultural products including sugar, coffee, honey, fuel and cocoa; while importing foodstuffs, building materials, consumer goods, pesticides, fertilizer, industrial machines, he said.

Addressing the event, Cuban Ambassador to Vietnam Herminio Lopez Diaz said that Gecomex and its 21 subsidiaries’ presence in the meeting aims to seek partnerships with suppliers of foods, consumer goods, chemicals, fertilizer, steel, paper, plastics, paint, industrial and agricultural machineries and automobile tires.

In December 2014, Cuba and the US nomalised their bilateral relations after 50 years of interruption. In March this year, Cuba also signed an agreement to nomalise relations with the European Union, paving the way for the country to boost its economic growth.

The Cuban diplomat pledged that his country’s government always backs Vietnamese businesses for the development and prosperity of Cuba as well as long-term and stable economic and trade ties between the two countries.

Doan Duy Khuong, VCCI Vice Director, said that Vietnam and Cuba are enjoying growing traditional trade ties, with many economic and trade deals, including the agreement on trade exchange and other economic cooperation in 1996; the agreement on investment encouragement and protection in 1995; the deal on tourism cooperation in 1999; the agreement on cooperation in quarantine and plant protection in 1999; the agreement on avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion for income taxes in 2002.

However, the result has yet to match their economic potential, he said, noting that last year, two-way trade reached only 235 million USD.

Vietnam exported foodstuffs, footwear, ceramics, construction material, coal, apparel and chemicals, while importing a number of new medicines and functional foods from the Caribbean country.

Statistics from the Ministry of Planning and Investment showed that as of December last year, Cuba ran one project in Vietnam with a total registered investment of 66 million USD, ranking 75 th among 100 countries and territories investing in Vietnam .

Meanwhile, a number of Vietnamese businesses have conducted large projects in Cuba, including PetroVietnam Exploration Production Company under the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group, Viglacera Group and Hanel.-VNA