Chinese entrepreneurs see huge potential in Cuban market

Entrepreneurs from east China's Zhejiang Province believe Cuba's economic market shows great potential and it could be a gateway for expansion into Latin America, a continent increasingly connected to Beijing.

At the first-ever Cuba-Zhejiang business forum held in Havana, which runs until Tuesday, 32 Zhejiang-based companies searched for business opportunities.

"We are here to explore the Cuban market in order to introduce our products and make our contribution to Cuba's electricity sector and its energy saving efforts," said Nan Ronghe, general manager of Yueqing Blue Sky Hi-Tech Co. (Lintin), a manufacturer of smart electricity meters.

Nan said that the two-day meeting allowed them to understand Cuba's needs and offer the country the chance to establish partnerships with Chinese companies.

Huang Huiqi, business manager of Huayi Electric (Heag), a company dedicated to renewable energy, said that Cuba is seen as a "brother country" and that his company wants to play a role in Cuba's development.

"Cuba's potential in this sector is huge and we can offer support for wind energy with efficient generators. We would really like to join the Cuban market," said Huang.

Heag, a market leader in China, already has presence in Latin America with ties to Chile. The company considers Cuba as a further connection with Latin America.

"Our company represents a new trend in the sector. Cuba will develop its renewable and clean energy sector in the future and that is why we are here," he said.

Meanwhile, Wu Huisheng, general manager of Golden Bridge Optical, a manufacturer with 20 years' experience in the eyewear industry in Zhejiang, believes the forum offers the opportunity to enter not only the Cuban market, but also the rest of the continent.

"Cuba hopes to open (its markets) as China has done, and we see this business forum as an opportunity. Tourism is very well developed and we believe that our products will have a great advantage here," he said.

Promoted by the Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and the Chamber of Commerce of Cuba (CCC), the forum is intended to give Chinese companies an understanding of Cuba's legal regulations and investment possibilities.

Cuba has a broad portfolio of opportunities with more than 450 projects amounting to 10.7 billion U.S. dollars.

Ruben Ramos, vice president of the Cuban Chamber of Commerce, told Xinhua that ongoing exchanges with Chinese businessmen will contribute to the economic development of the Caribbean nation.

"The Chinese market offers great opportunities for Cuba due to its ongoing growth, as well as its need to import products for the development of its economy," he said.

Ramos said Cuba currently exports nickel, sugar, cigars and biotechnological products to China and that new possibilities are emerging.

"We have to continue opening up our export opportunities. Our priority is to promote our economy in order to continue its development," he said.

In order to seek new possibilities and market opportunities for Cuba's exports, Ramos will participate in the China International Import Expo in Shanghai later this year.

The forum preceded the signing of a memorandum of understanding aimed at strengthening economic relations, signed by Wu Guiying, president of the Zhejiang Provincial Committee of CCPIT, and Ramos on Monday.

According to the document, both parties agreed on "the cooperation of their respective organizations in the areas of business development, bilateral exchange and information, investments and commercial activities to benefit both sides."

  • Published in Cuba

Cuba expresses full support of Puerto Rico's inalienable right to self-determination and independence

United Nations, June 19 (RHC)-- Cuba's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Anayansi Rodríguez, reaffirmed her country's full and unconditional support for Puerto Rico's independence and sovereignty. 

On Monday, the Cuban diplomat spoke before the UN Special Committee on Decolonization, reiterating Puerto Rico's inalienable right to self-determination in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 1514, on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples. 

In a draft resolution adopted by consensus, the Special Committee once again urged the United States to assume the responsibility of promoting a process that allows Puerto Rico to take sovereign decisions to address its urgent economic and social needs. 

Promoted by Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Ecuador, Russia and Syria, the text was added to the 36 resolutions and decisions on Puerto Rico adopted by the Committee since 1972. 

A press release on the UN news site highlights that this year’s document refers to the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, which exacerbated unemployment, marginalization and poverty, in addition to aggravating problems related to education and health. 

The resolution calls on the General Assembly to comprehensively examine the question of Puerto Rico and decide on the issue as soon as possible. 

According to the resolution, the United States must guarantee the protection of the human rights of the Puerto Rican people, and to return the territory occupied by its military bases, in particular the Vieques and Ceiba islands, and to assume the costs of cleaning and decontamination of these areas. 

The text also expresses concern about actions carried out against pro-independence activists and calls for rigorous investigations. 

The first speaker was former political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, who highlighted the accelerated depopulation of Puerto Rico, to the point that there are just over three million people on the island and over five million have migrated to the United States. 

He highlighted the high number of professionals and young people who have left the island in search of employment and a better future. He reiterated his criticism of the Fiscal Control Board, which manages the finances of the government of Puerto Rico and orders the austerity measures to be implemented. 

Oscar López Rivera expressed his hope that the General Assembly take up the case of Puerto Rico, as the only body with the power to end colonialism. 

Edited by Pavel Jacomino
  • Published in Cuba

Gilberto Santa Rosa and El Canario in Festival in Cuba

Havana, Jun 19 (Prensa Latina) Puerto Rican Gilberto Santa Rosa and Dominican Jose Alberto El Canario are heading the poster for the artists to attend the Josone Varadero Beach Jazz and Salsa Festival in Cuba, from July 12 to 15 in Varadero Beach.

The event will also count on the attendance of Salvadoran singer Alvaro Torres and US jazz trumpet player Nicholas Payton among the foreign musicians and singers that have been convoked.

Twenty foreign and national artists will perform in the Festival, organized by Cuba's Musical Recordings and Editions Enterprise (EGREM), Cuban music agency MusiCuba and cultural organization Paradiso, among others.

Cuba will present artists such as Gente de Zona, legendary rumba group Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, El Septeto Santiaguero, los piano players Ernán López Nussa, 'Cucurucho' Valdés and Alejandro Falcón, and tres player Pancho Amat.

Other Cuban artists will be drummer Horacio 'El Negro' Hernández, female singer Daymé Arocena, female drummer Yissy García and saxophonist Michel Herrera, with their respoective groups, among others.

After four days of concerts, there will be a fair of Cuban cultural products that will also take place at the Josone Park, at Varadero resort, about 150 kilometers east of Havana.

The Josone Varadero Jazz & Salsa Festival will be an opportunity to learn first-hand about the musical variety that is cultivated on the island, and how jazz has become one of the leading genres in the Cuban sound scene.

  • Published in Culture

SIX TEAMS LINE UP FOR VOLLEYBALL CHALLENGER CUP AND ONE OPEN BERTH IN 2019 MEN'S VNL

Portugal, Chile, Cuba, Czech Republic, Estonia and Kazakhstan gather this week in Matosinhos, just north of Porto, where Portugal host the 2018 FIVB Men's Volleyball Challenger Cup, starting Wednesday, to determine one team to gain promotion to the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

The winner of the Volleyball Challenger Cup, a new competition to complement the Volleyball Nations League, gets promotion to next year's edition, replacing the bottom-ranked of the Challenger teams in the VNL.

Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Korea are this year's Challenger Teams in the VNL. After Week 4 of the VNL, Korea are bottom of the table, with no chance of catching up with any of the other contenders in their last three remaining matches of pool play.

The six participating teams in the Volleyball Challenger Cup (1 host and 5 teams from continental VCC qualification tournaments - two from Europe and one each from Asia, South American and North Central America & Caribbean) will be divided into two pools of three. The top two of each pool will meet in crosswise semifinals, followed by the bronze medal match and final.

Pool A: Portugal, Estonia, Kazakhstan.
Pool B: Chile, Cuba, Czech Republic.

Full schedule of the 2018 FIVB Men's Volleyball Challenger Cup in Matosinhos (all times local, GMT+1):

Wednesday, 20 June:
18:00 - Cuba v Czech Republic
21:00 - Portugal v Estonia

Thursday, 21 June:
18:00 - Estonia v Kazakhstan
21:00 - Czech Republic v Chile

Friday, 22 June:
18:00 - Chile v Cuba
21:00 - Kazakhstan v Portugal

Saturday, 23 June:
15:00 - Semifinal 1A v 2B
18:00 - Semifinal 1B v 2A

Sunday, 24 June:
15:00 - Bronze medal match
18:00 - Final

  • Published in Sports

Cuba opens Int'l convention to attract foreign investment

The Cuban government opened on Monday the 3rd Edition of International Convention and Exhibition of Cuban Industry (CubaIndustria 2018), seeking to attract foreign investors to revitalize the country's economy.

The Minister of Industry, Salvador Pardo, highlighted that the meeting is being attended by representatives from around 30 countries, including China, Russia, Spain, Germany and Italy.

Pardo stressed that the event is aimed at promoting Cuba's official portfolio of investment and to attract foreign capital and entrepreneurs, in order to establish joint ventures and develop strategic economic sectors.

With the participation of a Chinese business delegation, the official confirmed the "excellent" state of bilateral ties between Havana and Beijing.

Pardo said Cuba and China have signed relevant cooperation agreements in the spheres of renewable energy and transportation, among other important areas.

CubaIndustria 2018 includes a business forum at which Cuban officials will provide insights on the advantages of investing at the island's first Special Economic Development Zone, located at the megaport of Mariel, 50 kilometers west of Havana.

The Mariel Special Economic Development Zone is the largest infrastructure project executed by the Cuban government in the last decade and is expected to become the nation's main gateway for foreign trade.

Cuba needs over 2.5 billion U.S. dollars in foreign investments annually to achieve sustainable development, according to figures released by the Minister of Foreign Investment and Trade, Rodrigo Malmierca.

The arrival of foreign entrepreneurs is not only important due to fresh injection of capital into Cuba but also bringing in modern know-how and high technology that the country needs to update its economic model.

  • Published in Cuba

North American Composer Charles Fox to Perform in Cuba

Havana, Jun 19 (Prensa Latina) North American composer and singer Charles Fox, author of the hit Killing me softly with this song, will give a concert on July 1 at the Gran Teatro de La Habana ''Alicia Alonso'', organizers reported today.

The performance by renowned film and television soundtrack writer Fox, entitled Havana Dreams, is the first stop on a tour of several cities around the world to celebrate 55 years of his artistic career.

Fox will take a tour of his extensive repertoire, accompanied by several generations of local musicians.

Among the guests were Cuban diva Omara Portuondo, who will play Killing me softly with young Cristian Alejandro; trumpeter Juan Kemell, saxophonist and clarinetist Javier Zalba, and violinist Rafael Lay, director of the Aragón orchestra, among others, according to a statement sent by the organizers to Prensa Latina.

Prior to the concert, Fox will meet with artists from the island on June 24 at the Cultural Center on 31 and 2 Streets, located in Vedado Havana, and three days later at Fábrica de Arte Cubano.

Fox's professional career began in the second half of the 1960s with arrangements for musicians from different sound fields, and curiously enough, his work for salsa icons Ray Barretto and Tito Puentes stands out at this stage.

However, it is in the composition of soundtracks for film and television that he becomes famous, and under his signature appears the music of the series Love, American Style, Happy Days, and Wonder Woman; and the films The Last American Hero, Foul Play, and The Other Side of the Mountain, among others,

His Grammy winning song Killing me softly with this song put him at the top of the charts, and since 1972, when he composed it, it has been performed by a long list of artists, the best known version being that of American singer Roberta Flack.

Fox is a two-time Emmy Award winner, nominated for an Oscar on an equal number of occasions, and a three-time Golden Globe winner, and has been a member of the Composer's Hall of Fame since 2004.

  • Published in Culture

Indian President to Talk to Cuban Autrhorities

Havana, Jun 19 (Prensa Latina) Indian President Ram Nath Kovind will make an official visit to Cuba on June 21 and 22, where he will have a dialogue with national authorities, the Cuban Foreign Ministry announced Monday.

Kovind will arrive in the Caribbean nation for the first time as part of a tour that includes visits to Greece and Suriname.

According to official sources, the President of India will hold talks with the President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, after arriving on the island in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, where he will pay tribute to the historical leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro.

In addition, the visitor is expected to deposit a wreath before the Monument of the National Hero, José Martí, in the capital's Plaza de la Revolución (Revolution Square).

According to the agenda advanced in New Delhi, Cuba and India will sign several memoranda of understanding in the fields of biotechnology, traditional medicine, medicinal plants and homeopathy.

  • Published in Cuba

Need to save coral reefs

Flood damage would double without coral reefs, proves study

Loss of coral reefs around the world would double the damage from coastal flooding, and triple the destruction caused by storm surges, researchers said today.

Coupled with projected sea level rise driven by global warming, reef decline could see flooding increase four-fold by century’s end, they reported in the journal Nature Communications.

Without coral to help absorb the shock, a once-in-a-century cyclone would wreak twice the havoc, with the damage measured in the tens of billions of dollars, the team calculated.

“Coral reefs serve as natural, submerged breakwaters that reduce flooding by breaking waves and reducing wave energy,” said Michael Beck, lead scientist at The Nature Conservancy research and environmental group, and a professor at the University of California in Santa Cruz.

“Unfortunately, we are already losing the height and complexity of shallow reefs around the world, so we are likely already seeing increases in flood damages along many tropical coasts,” he told AFP.

Coral is also highly sensitive to spikes in water temperature, which have become sharper and more frequent with climate change.

Global coral reefs risk catastrophic die-off if Earth’s average surface temperature increases two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, earlier research has shown.

Combining coastal flooding and economic models, the new study calculated - country by country - the value of coral reefs as a barrier against storm-related wreckage.

Globally, seaside flooding is estimated to cause nearly USD 4 billion dollars (3.4 billion Euros) a year in damages.

With the erosion of the top metre (three feet) of coral reefs worldwide, that figure rises to USD 8 billion, Beck and his colleagues found.

“The topmost living corals will die and can break off very quickly,” said Beck. The countries most at risk from coral reef loss are Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Mexico and Cuba, each of which could avoid USD 400 million in damage per year if reefs are maintained.

Saudi Arabia, the United States, Taiwan and Vietnam would also become significantly more vulnerable to flooding with severe coral erosion. “When we consider the devastating impact of tropical storms in just the past few years - Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Typhoon Haiyan - the effects would be much worse without coral reefs,” Beck said.AFP

Subscribe to this RSS feed