FIHAV 2011 Ratifies Importance of Cuban Market

Havana. -After almost three decades, the Havana International Fair (FIHAV), the largest Cuban commercial fair, awakens every year with a renovated spirit and interest for the growing number of those who rely on it as an appropriate venue for doing business.Despite the current global crisis and the economic difficulties Cuba has to face, the attraction for the Cuban market remains intact. This is evidenced, among other things, by the high foreign representation in this edition, which began on Monday, October 31.

To obtain a first hand information on the features of the 2011 edition, Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment (MINCEX) Rodrigo Malmierca was interviewed on the Cuban and foreign participation.

"I want to emphasize that this is the 29th edition of FIHAV, a fair that with the passage of time shows that it has consolidated itself as an interesting exhibition for companies and businessmen from the entire world," he said.

"FIHAV is not only an event to promote trade, but also to evaluate projects that guarantee access to markets, technologies and financial resources for Cuba," Malmierca added.

The updating of our economic model will contribute to the strengthening of Cuba´s economic relations with other countries of the world, so FIHAV is called to become an event that contributes to this purpose, and it adds to the widespread efforts we are making to conserve financial resources and make the national economy more efficient.

The diversification of markets, the improvement of the quality of national production in goods and services, an effective promotion of export, import substitution, increased economic efficiency, these are all objectives identified in the Guidelines approved by the 6th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC), and they should be reflected in FIHAV.

The trade in goods and services that we can promote and attract is one which must comply with the priorities identified in the guidelines.

Malmierca said that FIHAV will have to reflect the changes Cuba will be slowly introducing to perfect Cuba's socialist economic model.

He noted that 16 countries of the region had confirmed their participation: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela. Several of these nations, he noted are members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA). Generally speaking, Latin America and Europe are the regions most represented in the Fair.

A business forum between the ALBA member countries is scheduled, he noted, adding that they have an important weight in Cuba´s trade of goods and services, and that such trade is the expression of a model of integration that takes into account the asymmetries of our nations and the most important felt needs of our peoples.

Asked whether this edition will maintain the level of participation of previous fairs despite the worsening of the economic and financial crisis in Europe and the US and the hardening of the US economic blockade against the island, Malmierca replied that the principal objective of FIHAV is the promotion of Cuba's economic relations with the world, and that the hope is that this edition will be better than former ones.

Companies from 57 countries in the whole world have confirmed their participation. The level of rented space is noticeably greater than that registered last year, and this edition will have a greater amount of foreign exhibitors than before.

In the actual scenario of an international economic and financial crisis, FIHAV continues to be one of the tools we have to widen the market of our goods and services and face the criminal economic, commercial and financial blockade by the US government.

"The blockade and the unilateral legislative measures taken in the US, which have not changed at all in the recent past, despite the false expectations generated by the Obama administration, have ensured that this year the vast majority of US firms and businessmen will not be present. opped from trading with Cuba because of the obsolete economic war policy fostered by 10 US administrations. They are forbidden from trading with the island because of the obsolete policy of economic war that 10 US administrations have pursued without success, in their attempt to destroy the Revolution and our people," said Malmierca. But it is clear that with their efforts to isolate us, they have succeeded in isolating themselves.

In response to questions from Prensa Latina, Malmierca noted that Spain, China and Italy head the list of the most represented foreign countries. Spain occupied 2,800 square meters, 20 percent of the total for foreign firms, with five pavilions, one of them totally occupied by the Ferruz Group. China occupied 1,475 square meters and Italy 988 square meters. But there are others growing in the space they occupy, among them Belgium, Panama, South Africa and Holland. The total space rented by foreign companies is over 13,400 square meters. And there were a large number of foreign firms participating for the first time in FIHAV.

Malmierca highlighted the visit of representatives of the International Enterprise of Singapore, a branch of the ministry of commerce and industry of that country, whose fundamental purpose is to develop foreign trade for Singapore.

Several official delegations came headed by ministers, vice ministers and other officials, from countries such as Venezuela, Panama, Brazil, Hungary, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Germany, in addition to delegations from chambers of commerce in Latin American and European countries.

Among them they are the Binational Chamber of Romania; the Chambers of Commerce of Yaroslav, Haiti, Vietnam and Mexico, the Hallet Dessau Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce of Chemnitz, both of Germany.

The 29th Havana International Fair also featured the presence of the Marine Chamber of Panama, the Association of Entrepreneurs of Brazil and the Chinese Council for International Trade Promotion.

There were representatives of the Spanish Foreign Trade Institute, the Office for Trade Facilitation of Trinidad and Tobago, and the Exports and Investments Center of the Dominican Republic, as well as of the Council of Mexican Companies for Foreign Trade, Investment and Technology; the Brazilian Agency for Export and Investment Promotion and the Bank of Foreign Trade of Venezuela.

As in other editions, the Central Pavilion in EXPOCUBA were occupied by Cuban companies with an exhibit area of five thousand square meters. The major exhibits were on public health, and the companies of the sector were headed by the new company Servicios Medicos Cubanos (SMC), specializing in the export of services. The presence of that sector, Malmierca explained, would be felt not only in the exhibit area, but rather it will be integral to the fair, by means of seminars, conferences, interviews to officials from those firms and of centers and services of health, in the SMC stand.

In its projection, he added, the country will emphasize the promotion of exports and import substitution.

Malmierca ended the interview by expressing thanks to all those who had accepted the invitation to be present at the fair and his acknowledgment to them for their show of confidence in Cuba and for their interest in the opportunities offered by the Cuban economy, and expressed his wish that their efforts be crowned with success. (Prensa Latina)