Cuban economy delegation headed by Rodrigo Malmierca meets with the United States Chamber of Commerce
The Blockade is the Main Obstacle to Links Photo: Ismael FranciscoZoom
WASHINGTON, Feb 16.- The Cuban Minister of Overseas Trade and Foreign Investment Rodrigo Malmierca reiterated in this capital that the US blockade of Cuba is the main obstacle to progress in bilateral relations.
The elimination of the economic, commercial and financial blockade in effect for more than half a century would be positive for both countries, he said speaking at an event in the US Chamber of Commerce, where he spoke alongside his accompanying delegation, managers and entrepreneurs, reported PL special envoy, Waldo Mendiluza.
Malmierca told those present in the installation details of the process of updating the Cuban economy, its progress and challenges in the context of the blockade.
In that regard, he mentioned the recovery of GDP after the crisis resulting from the collapse of the socialist camp, the tourism boom and the level of quality achieved by biotechnology and pharmaceuticals in the Greater Antilles.
Speaking of tourism, a very attractive sector for US companies, he considered that when travel restrictions on US citizens are lifted, Cuba will face a major challenge in terms of infrastructure.
We are ready to face it, he said during a lunch with senior executives and businessmen at the Chamber of Commerce.
The minister spoke about the efforts of the Island to maintain high social indicators, such as those shown in education and health.
Regarding foreign investment, he talked about recent actions taken, including the updating of the regulations and their potential.
He also discussed the attractiveness of the market in Cuba, given its geographical position, the prevailing stability and high professional skills of its workforce.
Before the talk by Malmierca, the executive vice president and head of International Affairs of the Chamber, Myron Brilliant, welcoming the visitors, acknowledged the progress in relations with Cuba and business prospects for both countries.
Over the past two years important things have passed, like the restoration of diplomatic ties and travel to the Isle of American officials and businessmen, said Brilliant, although he admitted that much remains to be done in bilateral ties, affected by the duration of th blockade. He further stated that in the current context and in future scenarios, the joint work and spirit of cooperation is significant.
For his part, the leader of the US-Cuba Business Council (USCBC), Carlos Gutierrez, highlighted business opportunities for both countries and how much remains to be done to promote them.
Gutiérrez also recognized the impact of sanctions (blockade) on trade links, the major bottleneck for normal ties and the importance of working together in the face of challenges, so he recalled the role to be played by the USCBC, created last year by the American Chamber of Commerce to promote the approach.
Despite extensive international relations of this Chamber, for the first time in a while we hear a Cuban minister, and hopefully in the future we will have many more meetings like this, he said.
The United States Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of more than three million entrepreneurs.
According to the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Cuba, Orlando Hernandez, among the US companies interested in the approach included are leaders in tourism, pharmaceuticals, energy, oil exploration and mining.
In response to a question from Prensa Latina during a meeting with Cuban journalists covering the visit, Hernández highlighted the benefits it would bring for both countries to lift the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by Washington on the island for more than half a century.
Translated by ESTI