Vietnam, Cuba hold Inter-Governmental Committee’s 35th meeting hinh anh 1The Vietnam-Cuba Inter-Governmental Committee convened its 35th meeting in Hanoi on October 2. (Photo:

Hanoi (VNA) – The Vietnam-Cuba Inter-Governmental Committee convened its 35th meeting in Hanoi on October 2, under the chair of Vietnamese Minister of Construction Pham Hong Ha and Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz.

During the two-day meeting, the committee is expected to review the implementation of the 34th meeting’s minutes and put forward specific measures to increase the efficiency of the committee’s operations and the two countries’ cooperation in the time ahead.

In opening the meeting, Minister Ha, who is also co-Chair of the Vietnam-Cuba Inter-Governmental Committee, said the bilateral relations are currently at the best development period and have been expanded in all fields, from politics, diplomacy to economy, science and technology.

Cooperative projects on rice, corn, soybean and coffee plantation and aquatic farming in Cuba have produced positive results, thus helping the country increase production yield and ensure food security.

The two countries are negotiating and plan to conclude negotiations on a new trade agreement in the fourth quarter of 2017 in order to bring two-way trade to 500 million USD in the next five years.

Many Vietnamese firms, including Viglacera, Hanel, Tin Thanh and Thai Binh, have worked closely with Cuban partners to get licences for their investment in Cuba in construction materials, consumer goods, hotel, and renewable energy.

Regarding cooperative measures in the time ahead, Minister Ha stressed the need to give priority to the signing of the new trade agreement, the fifth phase of the rice development project (2017-2020) to be implemented in 2018, and the implementation of the coffee development project.

He also urged the two sides to reach agreement on specific contents for cooperation in tourism, health care, production of vaccines and medicine, science and technology, telecoms, and cultural exchange.

At the meeting, both sides pledged to create favourable conditions to speed up the implementation of investment projects, and discuss cooperation possibilities in potential aspects such as tourism and medical tourism.

Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz emphasised important achievements in trade ties between the two countries.

Last year, Vietnam was the second largest trade partner of Cuba in the Asia-Pacific region, and tenth in terms of the total trade turnover of Cuba with other countries.

Two-way trade posted a year-on-year rise of 4.7 percent in the first eight months of this year, with rice remaining the most important commodity.

Notably, Cuba’s pharmaceutical and biotechnological products are now available in Vietnam. However, the quantity has yet to meet potential, he said.

Therefore, he said he hopes Cuba will continue intensifying cooperation with Vietnam in pharmaceuticals and health.-VNA