Minister Lukarsky: We are ready to open a new chapter in the economic relations with Cuba

Minister Lukarsky: We are ready to open a new chapter in the economic relations with Cuba

The Bulgarian enterprises start developing copper deposit and construction of hydro equipment in the Latin American country. “We are ready to open a new page in our economic relations with Cuba, which were discontinued in recent years.” This was the statement made by the Minister of Economy,BozhidarLukarsky,at the meetings with Cuban minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment Rodrigo Malmierka Diaz and Minister of Industry Salvador Pedro Cruz during his visit in Havana, while heading the Bulgarian business delegation during the exhibition FIHAV 2015 on the CUBA EXPO.

This is the first ministerial level visit since a long interruption of economic relations between the two countries and after the restoration of diplomatic relations between the Latin American country and the United States. Minister Lukarskyrecalled that Bulgaria and Cuba have traditionally good friendly relations and many Bulgarian experts have participated in the development of the Cuban economy. Recently 55 years of diplomatic relations between our two countries were celebrated. He assured that the new government is doing everything in its capacity to open up markets to third countries outside the EU and Cuba is a welcomed partner.

The Cuban Minister of Foreign Economy, Malmierka Diaz,introduced to Minister Lukarsky a plan for changes that the Latin American country undertakes in order to make create an efficient economic model for the country. He emphasized that foreign investment will play an essential role in the implementation of this plan. “The government in Havana aims to achieve economic growth of 6-7%, but this requiresannual investments at the amount of about 2 billion Dollars,” explained the Cuban minister. In his words, this is not easy in terms of the continuing economic embargo laid by the United States. He added that after the presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro announced the possibility of re-establishment of economic relations and removal of the blockade, it will still take long time to realize this intention. During this time, Cuba is striving to make its economy more attractive for foreign investment from other countries, in order not to fall back into a state of dependency on one partner. “This is the reason why we telleverybody–be quick, take positions before the embargo is lifted,” added MalmierkaDiaz. He pointed out the leading role of the countries of the EU in this process, stressing out that only within the last year in the country have taken place summits with participation of Spain, Italy, France, Netherlands, Germany, Hungary. “Cuba can serve as a “bridge” between Bulgaria and Latin America,” he assured.

At his meeting with Minister Lukarsky, the Minister of Industry, Salvador Pedro Cruz, pointed out that Cuba is in the process of recovery of its industrial capacity. The revival of the mining of non-ferrous metals begins, large investments in the production of household appliances, renewable energy, packaging materials, trade with footwear, agricultural products, printing, sanitary materials, batteries, steel products, tires, aluminum cans, air conditioners valves for pressure equipment, products of the glass industry,are being prepared. Opportunitiesfor establishment of joint ventures in these areasexist. The capabilities of the new economic zone of Mariel in Cuba were presented as well.

During the visit, the Deputy Minister of Economy,LyubenPetrov, attended the meeting between the Bulgarian company “Bulgargeomin” and the Cuban enterprise “Geominera”,where it became clear that the Bulgarian company is at advanced commencement stage of mining and processing of copper ore in Cuba. The field will be developed with the assistance of Bulgarian technologists and is expected to start working in the spring of the following year.

Minister Lukarsky, the Deputy Minister LyubenPetrov and the Executive Director of the Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises, Marietta Zaharieva, participated in the celebration of the Europe Day within the fair in Havana. The exhibition was attended by eleven of our small and medium enterprises. The Delegation visited also the stand of the Bulgarian company “StroitelnaMehanizatsia”, which is in advanced process of negotiations for the construction of hydro facilities in Cuba