Russia and Cuba agree to boost investment and trade relations

8th May 2023

Cuba and Russia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding intended to lead to a deepening of Russian private investment in energy, tourism, food production, civil aviation infrastructure, mining, and the development of sugar as an integrated agro-industry.

At the end of a three-day visit to Havana, Makim Oreshkin, Presidential Adviser for Economic Affairs to the Russian Federation, and Cuba’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Ricardo Cabrisas, agreed a document that is expected to lead to deeper long-term Russian engagement in the Cuban economy; the development of a new investment relationship with Cuban state enterprise; and an expansion in relations between the two countries.

The Cuban News Agency (ACN) reported that in Havana, Oreshkin discussed “Russian investors effective involvement in Cuba’s Economic and Social Development Program through 2030, in priority sectors.” It quoted Cabrisas as emphasising that the exchanges reflected “the excellent state of bilateral relations” and the political willingness of both governments to “advance rapidly” economic and commercial relations.

During the visit Oreshkin and an accompanying delegation of Russian officials and businessmen representing “companies willing to invest in various sectors of the Cuban economy”, met with the heads of Cuban state enterprises, President Díaz-Canel and other leading members of government.
The Cuban Presidency website noted that President Díaz-Canel, and Oreshkin confirmed that “the intention is to bring the economic, commercial and financial ties between their countries to the same state as political relations.” It also quoted him as saying that the presence of the delegation was “very significant” and as giving “continuity to the exchange of high-level visits that has been maintained in recent months.” It was “one more expression of the deepening of the historic bilateral relations between both governments and peoples,” he said.

Díaz-Canel was also quoted as saying of Oreshkin, “For us it is a satisfaction to receive him on his first visit to Cuba, which was expected and longed for in our country.” “We feel”, he was reported as saying, that there is in “the Russian Government, and in particular in President Putin, an enormous sensitivity towards the problems of Cuba.”

Oreshkin was reported to have said during the meeting the principal focus was on deepening economic relations between the two nations on energy, increasing tourist flows and the investment of Russian companies in Cuba.

In doing so, he referred to the three main work guidelines that have been proposed to strengthen economic relations, among which, he said, the first is energy, and the second the increase in tourist flows to Cuba. He recognised, however, that delivering the “the third area, the most important sector” able to provide long term results, investment by Russian companies, would be “quite difficult.” He noted however that negotiations on investments in mining, agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, and energy were already underway before his visit and will continue.

During their dialogue, Díaz-Canel, was reported to have conveyed an “affectionate greeting to our friend President Putin”, and emphasised, our “unconditional support” and our “firm and systematic denunciation, in all international events, in relation to the conflict orchestrated by the Government of the United States, with the aim of bringing NATO borders closer to inadmissible lines with Russia.” The Russian media platform Sputnik Mundo quoted President Díaz-Canel as saying “We feel that there is enormous sensitivity in the Russian government and, in particular in President Putin, towards Cuba’s problems.”

Also participating in the meetings were Deputy Prime Ministers Ricardo Cabrisas, the Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, and Alejandro Gil, the Minister of Economy and Planning.

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Photo: By Prensa Latina