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Relations between the EAEU and Cuba demonstrating only positive dynamics

Relations between the EAEU and Cuba demonstrating only positive dynamics

2/8/2019
A number of events devoted to furthering relations between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Republic of Cuba took place in Havana on February 6-8. The delegation of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) headed by the Chairman of the Commission’s Board Tigran Sargsyan discussed the issues of further economic cooperation during their working visit to Cuba.

Investment prospects of the Union countries related to Cuba were under discussion at the meeting of the Chairman of the Board Tigran Sargsyan with the Vice-President of the Council of State of the country Ines Maria Chapman.

Ines Maria Chapman presented the key elements of renewed economic policy of Cuba making a point on the development of information technologies as well as modernization and development programs for the industry.

Tigran Sargsyan mentioned the importance of expanding cooperation between the EAEU Member States and Cuba in the particular period of implementation of new economic programs in the Republic. “Taking into account Cuban commitment to diversify their economy, partners from the EAEU are eager to take part in such processes. Moreover, specific projects and proposals on part of entrepreneurs of our Union are already in existence”, - said the Head of the EEC Board.

Tigran Sargsyan emphasized at his meeting with the Vice-President of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba Ricardo Cabrisas that it was essential at that stage to determine the main directions, which might become the source of increase in goods turnover and cooperation between the EAEU Member States and Cuba. “It is important for us to be in close cooperation with our traditional partners while implementing our goals. Cuba is a long-standing partner of all the EAEU Member States and we are glad that relations between our countries demonstrate only positive dynamics”, - stated Tigran Sargsyan.

Exports from the EAEU States to Cuba in January-November 2018 increased by 25.7% as compared to a similar period of 2017, in 2017 – by 28.4%, in particular, from Belarus – by 15.8% and from Russia – by 29.5%. Goods turnover of the Union countries with Cuba in January-November 2018 increased by 6.8% as compared to a similar period of 2017. Growth of such index in 2017 equaled to 15.2%.

In his turn, the Vice-President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba reported that Cuba was interested in promoting relations with all the EAEU Member States. “We are engaged in rather active economic cooperation with Russia and Belarus but we want the same dynamics to be observed for another Union participating countries. Our new economic diversification, biotechnology development, efficient agriculture, industry modernization, renewable energy programs serve as the groundwork for enhancing our cooperation”, - he stated.

The parties agreed to jointly draw up an information booklet for businesses of the EAEU countries and Cuba.

The first session of the Joint Commission on Interaction between the EEC and the Government of the Republic of Cuba and the conference of business circles on the issues of cooperation between the EAEU Member States and Cuba took place as part of the working visit of the EEC delegation to Cuba.

Following the results of the session, the Member of the Board – EEC Minister in charge of integration and macroeconomics Tatyana Valovaya and the Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment of the Republic of Cuba Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz in the presence of the Chairman of the EEC Board Tigran Sargsyan signed the 2019 Joint Action Plan for the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the EEC and the Government of the Republic of Cuba.

Pursuant to the plan, which is of great importance for the parties, a series of consultations will take place between the authorized subdivisions of the EEC and the public authorities of Cuba.

Furthermore, an increase in goods turnover between the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union and Cuba in the last two years was mentioned, and new opportunities to enhance trade and economic cooperation were discussed during the event.

“The scope of our mutual trade is increasing: in 2017 goods turnover increased by 15%, whereas in 11 months of the previous year it grew as much as by another 7%. However, it is an important task to diversify trade with all the Union countries. At present, most part of turnover is attributed to Russia (approx. 77%) and Belarus (approx. 16%). Other countries of the Union are certainly also interested in cooperation”, - stated Tatyana Valovaya.

She also mentioned that less than one year had passed since the adoption of the Memorandum of Understanding between the EEC and the Government of the Republic of Cuba, but the parties’ cooperation had already become more active. “We are very pleased to point out a high level of contacts of the Commission’s representatives with Cuban partners, - said the EEC Minister. – In 2018, for instance, consultations of experts in the field of pharmaceuticals were held, the Cuban delegation took part in the Eurasian Week International Forum and Expo in Yerevan”.

In his welcome address Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz emphasized that notwithstanding positive dynamics of trade, the present scope of economic cooperation of Cuba with the Union States did not correspond to the available opportunities. At the same time, he pointed out the potential for increase in turnover, especially with Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. “We consider the platform of joint commission and the Memorandum of Understanding between the EEC and the Government of the Republic of Cuba as an optimum foundation for enhancing cooperation with all the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union”, - summarized the representative of the Republic of Cuba.

The discussion which took place according to the agenda reflected the interest of the Cuban side in innovations in the sphere of circulation of medicines and medical devices within the Union as well as enhancement of cooperation with all the Member States in the real economy, in particular, as part of implementation of joint projects related to modernization of Cuban industry, in the first place machine building and chemistry sectors.

The Director of the EEC Integration Development Department Sergey Shukhno told about the EEC’s efforts towards deepening of industrial cooperation in the Union and prospects of cooperation of the “five” countries with Cuba in this direction. In his opinion, it is expedient to arrange for business missions of both Cuban business circles to the EAEU countries and the unified Eurasian business to Cuba in order to determine specific spheres of potential cooperation.

The next session of the Joint Commission will take place in 2020 in one of the Union States.

The conversation on the importance of direct contacts between entrepreneurs of the Union States and the Republic of Cuba was continued at the business conference arranged by the Cuban Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This was the first forum organized after the Memorandum of Understanding between the EAEU and Cuba had been signed. It was attended by representatives of Cuban companies focused on developing cooperation with partners in the EAEU. At the business forum the parties discussed the projects of cooperation in trade, education, medicine and financial sector.

The participants of the session of the Joint Commission and the conference for business circles included the Member States’ representatives: ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Armenia – Ara Ayvazyan, Belarus – Alexander Alexandrov, Kazakhstan – Akylbek Kamaldinov and Russia – Andrey Guskov. They confirmed the necessity for more efficient use of cooperative potential between the EAEU countries and Cuba. The EEC representatives also took part in the events and presented their reports.

During the visit of the EEC delegation to Cuba the EEC Minister Tatyana Valovaya also had working meetings with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba Marcelino Medina Gonzalez and the Deputy Minister of Public Health Alfredo Gonzalez Lorenzo.

For reference
On May 31, 2018 the Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Havana between the Eurasian Economic Commission and the Government of the Republic of Cuba.

This document is aimed at coordinating efforts of the Eurasian Economic Union countries and Cuba to increase turnover in trade and investments, to eliminate barriers inhibiting development of trade as well as opening up opportunities for systemic taking of joint measures in the economy.

Cuba is a long-standing, traditional and well-known partner of all the EAEU countries. Cooperation is rooted in history and relies on a solid foundation of common past connecting the countries in economic and cultural terms. The Memorandum of the EEC and the Government of Cuba is a platform for renewing and intensifying interaction in the current context.