23 nov 2018
In Havana

ANTONIO GARAMENDI PARTICIPATES IN THE TWENTY-THIRD EDITION OF THE CUBAN-SPANISH BUSINESS COOPERATION COMMITTEE

Within the framework of the official visit of the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and a Spanish business delegation to Cuba.

The president of CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, participated today in the Twenty-Third edition of the Cuban-Spanish Business Cooperation Committee and in the preceding working breakfast, within the framework of the official visit of the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and a Spanish business delegation to Havana, in Cuba. During the event, they analysed business opportunities for Spanish companies in sectors such as tourism, infrastructure or renewable energy. The President of CEOE was accompanied on this trip by the Head of the President’s Cabinet and of the International and Institutional Relations Department, Narciso Casado.

TWENTY-THIRD EDITION OF THE CUBAN-SPANISH BUSINESS COOPERATION COMMITTEE

Cuban-Spanish Business Cooperation Committee

The Cuban-Spanish Business Cooperation Committee was attended by the presidents of Cuba, Miguel Díaz Canel and of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez; the vice president of the country’s Council of Ministers, Ricardo Cabrisas; the president of CEOE, Antonio Garamendi; the president of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, José Luis Bonet; his counterpart at Cuba’s Chamber of Commerce and of the Cuban chapter of the bilateral Committee; Orlando Hernández; the president of this Committee’s Spanish chapter, Jaime García-Legaz; officials from the Cuban Ministries of Tourism, Energy and Mines, Construction, Transport, Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, and from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Enterprise; and representatives from the main companies of both countries. The Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, took part in the closing ceremony, as did Cuba’s ad interim Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Antonio Luis Carricarte.

During the event, the presidents of both chapters of the Bilateral Committee, Orlando Hernández and Jaime García-Legaz, introduced the working session and then gave way to the various panels of the day, focusing on renewable energies and infrastructures, tourism, and investments.

Renewable energies and infrastructures

The president of CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, highlighted at the panel discussing renewable energies and infrastructures that both sectors should become the two main drivers of Spanish-Cuban economic relations. He said that the great prestige enjoyed by our infrastructure companies, due to their experience in the design and execution of highly complex projects, places them at an unbeatable position to promote and develop, in collaboration with the State and the different Cuban companies, a plan for infrastructures that would enable the mobility of Cubans, improve connectivity between the country's economic centres and allow Cuba to become a stronger logistics platform, taking advantage of its strategic location in the Caribbean.

In this regard, he mentioned that our Spanish construction and engineering companies are present in 85 countries across five continents, with a work portfolio that exceeds €74 billion; and that our railway companies participate in 50 railway projects developed worldwide.

Garamendi also said that Spain’s strengths are not limited to this sector, but also extend to renewable energies, where companies are technology leaders, both in wind and in solar, in the construction and management of wind farms and solar power. "This is a key sector for both countries which, in addition to being very dependent on energy imports, are immersed in an energy transition process, whereby renewable energies will gradually replace traditional ones, such as oil or coal, " he said.

Agreements

The president of CEOE also spoke about the intensification of official visits between both countries in the last four years, which have led to economic agreements, such as the ones covering refinancing and the debt conversion program, and to a series of memorandums of understanding. Regarding the latter, Garamendi said it was worth pointing out the collaboration agreement reached on energy matters, on the occasion of the trip of the former Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, José Manuel Soria; and the Memorandum of Understanding in Transport signed by the former Minister of Development, Ana Pastor, both of them signed in Cuba in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Garamendi indicated that both agreements establish a framework of cooperation that should enable the strengthening of bilateral collaboration, through the promotion of specific initiatives and projects that would allow the development of infrastructures and energy diversification in Cuba.

Working breakfast

Previously, a working breakfast was held for the Spanish business delegation, which was attended by the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez; the presidents of CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, and of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, José Luis Bonet; the president of the Spanish chapter of the Committee, Jaime García-Legaz; and the heads of several Spanish companies.

The president of CEOE said that with an investment stock of €1.05 billion and a bilateral trade that exceeded €2 billion last year, Spanish companies have placed Spain as the leading investor, customer and European provider of the island. Garamendi stressed that the Cuban constitutional reform underway, and still awaiting popular endorsement in February 2019, deserves special attention from Spanish businessmen, as it would not only consolidate the economic reforms carried out so far, but would also establish a framework that would foster further development of the private business sector and private investment in the island.

Antonio Garamendi assured that Spanish businessmen value Law Number 118 of Foreign Investment enacted in 2014 very positively, a Law that represented a radical change and came to be considered the main driver of the economic development of the Caribbean country. In this regard, he praised the will of the Cuban Government in its efforts to improve the Law, as shown by Decree 347/2018, which simplifies authorization procedures.

The president of CEOE insisted that bilateral technical cooperation should not only be limited to the economic field, but also extend to other more specific areas, such as tourism, energy and agri-food, where Spanish companies stand out for their global leadership.

For further information:

- Please check data of interest on business opportunities in Cuba.