Audience with the President of the Republic of Cuba

Members of the Cuba Initiative had the honour of welcoming President Miguel Diaz-Canel to the UK on 13 November. It was an historic visit and the first visit to the UK by a Cuban President since the Cuban Revolution.

The President generously set aside time in his busy schedule to meet with the Cuba Initiative for an informative exchange regarding his vision on the future of trade and investment relations between the United Kingdom and Cuba.

The President delivered a detailed statement regarding Cuba’s current economic situation and areas of growth. Cuba’s adoption of the 2015 law on foreign investment and the assurances guaranteed to foreign businesses established in Free Economic Zones are measures that the President hopes will attract increasing investment from the United Kingdom. The President stated that by furthering trade relations with the UK, he hopes to create conditions that foster sustainable economic growth of priority sectors including: tourism, agriculture, agri-food, industry, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, and infrastructure.

The President stressed the importance of the relationship with the Cuba Initiative due to the long history of collaboration and mutual understanding. He also restated his commitment to the Initiative’s mission, which has been to promote trade and investment between the UK and Cuba since 1995. He welcomed British investors to Cuba, recognising their professionalism, the seriousness with which they take their work, the quality of their services, and the trust in UK investors that has been built through the support of the Cuba Initiative.

During the meeting, we also had the pleasure of hearing from Vice-President Ricardo Cabrisas, one of the founding members of the Cuba Initiative, who recalled the important work that the has been done by the Initiative to foster positive relations between the United Kingdom and the Cuba.

In his final remarks, President Diaz-Canel stated: “We count on you for the relaunch of Cuba Initiative and we will see you in 2019”, referring to a UK trade mission he hopes will visit Cuba next year.

The meeting was chaired by the Cuba Initiative’s Chairman, The Lord Triesman.