A 45 member delegation from the United Kingdom visited Cuba from 27-30 April led by the Chairman of the UK Cuba Initiative, Rt Hon. Lord Hutton of Furness, marking the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Cuba Initiative. The visit was announced last November by the British Minister of State, Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP.
Interests among the delegation span a wide range of sectors including mining, energy, agriculture, food processing, tourism, information technology, construction and pharmaceuticals.
Lord Hutton, UK Chairman of the Cuba Initiative, speaking at a press conference at the Cuban Foreign Ministry said: “This mission marks a real step-change in the UK-Cuba business relationship with clear appetite on both sides for new investment and trade deals to take advantage of Cuba’s new foreign investment law and approach to doing business.”
Projects amounting to over US$500m were signed in Havana and bring new investment and new technology to Cuba as well as good business prospects for the UK companies and their Cuban partners. Coupled with policy changes in Cuba, recent announcements from the US improving access to international finance for UK companies working in Cuba are further signs that this is the time to come to Cuba and look at the opportunities afresh.
A number of major new business deals were concluded during the visit including:
– A major Golf & Beach Resort, offering the opportunity to both foreign and Cuban residents to acquire circa 1,000 Private Residences and Villas. The gross investment is inexcess of USD 350m.
– ‘Project Papa’ to develop potato production and crisp manufacturing in Cuba
– A major biopower project in collaboration with the sugar sector worth US$150m
– An innovative project to process Marabu and produce charcoal and other derivatives
– A project to improve the quantity and quality of Cuban mountain coffee under a British brand “Alma de Cuba”
A memorandum of understanding was also signed between the London Chamber of Commerce and the Cuban Chamber of Commerce.
About the Visit
The visit was organised in conjunction with the Cuban side of the Cuba Initiative, which is chaired by Rodrigo Malmierca, Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the British Embassy in Havana.
The Cuba Initiative is an independent, bi-lateral, non-governmental body that supports programmes that enhance the UK/Cuban relationship. It was founded in 1995 in response to a request from the Governments of the United Kingdom and Cuba. It complements the official UK/Cuban government-to-government relationship with a principal focus on trade and investment. Its chair on the UK side is Lord Hutton, the former Labour Cabinet minister, and its chair on the Cuban side is Rodrigo Malmierca, Cuba’s Minister for Trade and Investment. It comes under the banner of the Caribbean Council which supports UK investment and business in the Caribbean and Central America on a two way basis.
The Rt Hon Lord Hutton of Furness, John Hutton, is a life peer and a British Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament for Barrow and Furness in Cumbria from 1992 to 2010. He served in a number of Cabinet level ministerial positions including as Secretary of State for Defence as business secretary. He is the Chairman of the Royal United Services Institute and sits on a number of boards.