Cuban pres­i­dent visit deep­ens ties: ex­perts

Im­port expo vis­i­tors ex­hibit in­ter­est in top-notch Ha­vana cigars

Global Times US Edition - - TOPNEWS - By Liu Caiyu in Bei­jing and Yu Xi in Shang­hai

The visit to China by Cuban Pres­i­dent Miguel Diaz-Canel will fur­ther deepen the friend­ship be­tween China and Cuba and help open up both mar­kets, Chi­nese an­a­lysts noted on Tues­day.

The visit came af­ter Diaz-Canel took of­fice in April, which Chi­nese an­a­lysts said demon­strates the firm de­ter­mi­na­tion of the Cuban leader to in­herit and deepen the bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship.

Diaz-Canel was filmed by a Global Times re­porter vis­it­ing the China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo in Shang­hai on Tues­day.

The Cuban pres­i­dent was in­tro­duced to a model of the China Rail­way Ex­press and in­spected mod­els of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Ma­cao Bridge and its 6.7 -kilo­me­ter un­der­sea tun­nel at the expo’s China Pav­il­ion on Tues­day. He then vis­ited the Cuba Pav­il­ion. Like his pre­de­ces­sors, Diaz-Canel will keep main­tain­ing the well-es­tab­lished China-Cuba re­la­tion­ship and seek fur­ther eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties, es­pe­cially in terms of Chi­nese in­vest­ment, Han Han, sec­re­tary gen­eral of the Cuba Re­search Cen­ter at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences’ In­sti­tute of Latin Amer­i­can Stud­ies, told the Global Times on Tues­day.

Diaz-Canel is a leader that sup­ports Cuban re­form and open­ing, which will op­ti­mize the na­tion­wide in­vest­ment en­vi­ron­ment and at­tract more Chi­nese in­vestors to pri­vate busi­ness, Han noted.

Agri­cul­ture, in­fra­struc­ture and tour- ism would be po­ten­tial in­vest­ment tar­gets, Dong Jing­sheng, deputy di­rec­tor of Pek­ing Univer­sity’s Latin Amer­ica Re­search Cen­ter, told the Global Times.

The expo in Shang­hai will pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for Cuban com­pa­nies to boost rum, ci­gar and fruit ex­ports to the Chi­nese mar­ket, Dong said.

Thirty-four Cuban com­pa­nies par­tic­i­pated in the expo. They in­cluded agri­cul­ture, food, bi­o­log­i­cal tech­nol­ogy and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies, the Xin­hua News Agency re­ported.

Chi­nese vis­i­tors showed in­ter­est in the long his­tory of high-qual­ity Cuban cigars at the expo, the Global Times found.

Cuban com­pa­nies have great mar­ket ex­pec­ta­tions for the expo, Ed­uardo Tor­res Perez, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of In­fi­fon Hong Kong Ltd, ex­clu­sive dis­trib­u­tor of all Ha­vana ci­gar brands on the Chi­nese main­land, told the Global Times.

China has be­come Cuba’s sec­ond largest trad­ing part­ner and Cuba is China’s largest trad­ing part­ner in the Caribbean. Bi­lat­eral trade vol­ume was $1.78 bil­lion in 2017, Xin­hua said.

Cuba is the only so­cial­ist coun­try in the West­ern hemi­sphere and the first Latin Amer­i­can and Caribbean coun­try to es­tab­lish diplo­matic re­la­tions with China.

Since the Latin Amer­i­can coun­try has tense re­la­tions with the US, its re­la­tion­ship with China is ex­tremely im­por­tant and won’t change in the short term, Chi­nese an­a­lysts noted.

The Cuban pres­i­dent is ex­pected to fin­ish his visit on Thurs­day.

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