As part of its policy to boost trade ties with Asian countries,Cuba is now focusing on developing bilateral trade relations with India.
At an interactive session today on enhancing India-Cuba business cooperation,organised by Bengal National Chamber of Commerce,officials from Cuba claimed the bilateral trade between the two countries will more than double in near future. With trade volume with China,at present the largest bilateral trading partner of Cuba in Asia accounting for 69 per cent of its total Asian trade,reaching a saturation point,India is hot destination for Cubans.
According to the Cuban ambassador to India,M A Ramirez Ramos,the trade between the two countries is projected to run up to $100 million within the next two to three years from the current $40 million. The recent sanction of $100 million line of credit to Cuba offered by the EXIM bank of India and the decision of extending credit cover by the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation for exports to Cuba will accelerate trade between the two countries, said Ramos. The credit line extended by EXIM bank is expected to facilitate import of engineering products from India, he added.
Another factor which is boosting trade,Ramos said,was the decision of the Indian government to waive a debt of $70 million (that Cuba owed to India last year).
Cuba is focusing on imports like pharmaceutical products,tyres,fertilisers,renewable energy,construction equipment,textile,leather goods,and plastic from India while the primary Cuban exports to India could be nickel,rum and cigars. Ramos stressed the interest of making the two countries reach synergies in the IT and healthcare. An Indian private sector fertiliser company was also exploring the possibility of setting up a unit in Cuba, said the ambassador.