The week-long International Fair of Havana (FIHAV) 2012 kicked off Sunday with more than 3,000 exhibitors from 62 countries—the largest show in a decade.
The event, a critical one for the notoriously isolated Cuban economy, was billed by
Cuban foreign trade and investment minister Rodrigo Malmierca as a priority in the country’s efforts to continue to encourage foreign trade.
FIHAV 2012 has attracted large delegations from Russia, China, Spain and England.
Britain’s group of more than 20 companies was an especially promising signal of easing tensions, given the UK-Cuba Declaration of Bilateral Cooperation signed last summer.
“The UK footprint at the trade fair is another step forward after the 2011 bilateral agreement,” said Tim Cole, British Ambassador to Cuba, in a statement. “This trade delegation underlines our commitment and readiness to boost bilateral trade and investment.”
Companies among the English trade delegation were Advance Engineering Ltd., Atlantic Service Company, BSP International Foundations Ltd, International Ltd, Green Future Fuels, The King of Shaves Company Ltd.
Overall, more than 300 companies from EU member nations participated.
Trade within the region has also been important facet of the event, according to Malmierca, as the focus switches from importing foreign goods to exporting Cuban goods and services midway through.
Biotechnology, food, construction and raw materials were among the most-offered goods, while direct services, consultation and skills training in information technology and healthcare were among the most-available skills.