Vietnam, Cuba seek ways to raise trade to 500 million USD hinh anh 1The 38th meeting of the Vietnam-Cuba Inter-Governmental Committee held online on December 30 (Photo:

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam and Cuba sought measures to increase two-way trade to 500 million USD in 2025 during the 38th meeting of the Vietnam-Cuba Inter-Governmental Committee, held online on December 30.

The meeting was co-chaired by Vietnamese Minister of Construction Pham Hong Ha and Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz.

According to Ha, the two sides will work closely to effectively implement the Vietnam-Cuba FTA to increase two-way trade.

The two nations will speed up negotiations for the restructuring of Cuban businesses’ debts to Vietnamese companies to ensure the expansion of trade ties and maintain the stability of rice supply to Cuba, he said.

The Vietnamese side will continue to encourage and create favourable conditions for businesses from both sides to invest in new projects in each other’s market, said Ha, who suggested the Cuban Government create favourable conditions for Vietnamese-invested projects to operate smoothly and create an attractive environment for Vietnamese firms to develop new projects in Cuba.

The FTA became effective on April 1, 2020. Vietnam will continue to supply rice to Cuba and implement investment projects in the country, while a number of agreements in agriculture were also signed.

Two-way trade stood at 262 million USD in 2019 and 102 million USD in the first 10 months of 2020. Vietnam has maintained stable rice supply to Cuba.

Both sides have also effectively carried out a coffee tree development plan in the 2016-2020 period and a rice production project in Cuba in the 2019-2023 period.

However, Ha held that two-way trade has yet to match potential and suffered a sharp downturn in 2020. He emphasised the need to deal with problems in the implementation of investment projects in both countries as well as in Vietnam’s rice exports to Cuba.

Vietnam is Cuba’s second-largest trade partner in Asia and one of the 20 most promising partners of the country, according to the Cuban minister.

Cuba has faced numerous challenges due to the impact of COVID-19 on socio-economic sectors, especially tourism. It posted negative growth of 11 percent for 2020.

The country has adopted socio-economic strategies and plans towards 2030, while planning to apply currency unification from January next year, he said.

The minister added that Cuba will also reform and complete economic models and control COVID-19 to resume tourism and production activities.

Meanwhile, Vietnam is estimated to post GDP growth of 2.91 percent in 2020, among the highest in the world.

The country has attracted 28.5 billion USD in foreign investment while maintaining economic balance and macro-economic stability. It also successfully performed the role of ASEAN Chair and non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2020.

Vietnam and Cuba plan to continue the efficient implementation of a food development project in the 2019-2023 period while strengthening cooperation in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and bio-technology.

Along with maintaining the implementation of reached agreements, the two sides will also seek new cooperation opportunities in the fields of finance-banking, trade, investment, construction, transport, labour, culture, sports and tourism, and science-technology.

At the end of the meeting, the two sides signed the minutes and a number of cooperation deals.

The next meeting of the Vietnam-Cuba Inter-Governmental Committee is scheduled for 2021 in Vietnam./.