|An exhibition of Cuban goods held at a conference to facilitate trade between HCM City and Cuban businesses yesterday. — VNS Photo Việt Dũng|
HCM CITY — Cuba is keen on strengthening business ties with Việt Nam, a conference heard in HCM City on Thursday.
The conference was held by the city's Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC) and Cuban consulate to mark a visit by a business delegation led by the Cuban Chamber of Commerce general secretary Omar de Jesus Fernandez Menendez.
Cuba is striving for economic reform, with more open policies, and is pushing for more trade and exports of goods and services such as functional foods, hi-tech agriculture, rum, cigars and medical services.
It also wants to import from HCM City consumer goods and garments and textiles.
Indira Lopez Arguelles, the Cuban consul in the city, said besides its traditional and well-known agriculture industry, Cuba is also developing other industries such as bio-technology, tourism, health, beverages and professional services.
“There are some struggles, like geographical distance, the American blockade, the lack of knowledge between us, but our presence here and your attention is the most important way to start fostering the business relationship and overcome hardships.”
Menendez said HCM City is the economic centre of Việt Nam, and businesses interested in improving trade with the country should look at the city.
It excels in trade, tourism and investment, and has great potential to work with Cuba in areas like healthcare, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, food production, textile and garment, footwear, and consumer goods, he said.
He invited HCM City businesses to take part in the 37th International Fair in the Cuban capital Havana from November 4 to 8 this year.
Businesses from 65 countries and 3,000 visitors would be at the event, he said.
Phạm Thiết Hòa, director of the ITPC, said the relationship between Việt Nam and Cuba is growing nicely, and a visit by a delegation of city's senior officials to Cuba led by People’s Committee chairman Nguyễn Thành Phong last year showed the city’s strong commitment to fostering economic and trading ties.
Trần Ngọc Thuận, general director of Thái Bình Corporation, which has been exporting garments, footwear, consumer goods and construction materials to Cuba since 1998, said Cubans have a preference for Vietnamese goods and an affinity for Vietnamese people, due to the two countries’ long friendship.
An exhibition was also held for the visiting Cuban businesses to network with their Vietnamese counterparts and promote their goods such as beverages, cigars and bio-technology products.
Việt Nam is Cuba’s main Asian investor, with several Vietnamese businesses having a high profile in that country, especially in construction, tourism and renewable energy.
Việt Nam is Cuba’s second largest trading partner in the Asia Pacific, and the two countries signed a trade agreement last year. — VNS