Cuba Welcomes Russian Businesspeople at 2023 Havana Fair: “Great Business Opportunities”

# FIHAV 2023: A Portal for Cuban-Russian Business Endeavors

The 39th International Havana Fair (FIHAV 2023) has reaffirmed that “Cuba is open to the world” and the prospect of new investments critical for expanding and diversifying markets, replacing imports, accessing advanced technology, and drawing in external financing.

## Unlocking Potential at FIHAV 2023

Taking place at the Expocuba fairgrounds in Havana, the Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Ricardo Cabrisas, announced that over 800 companies from around 60 nations are present in a 17,000 square-meter exhibition space, illustrating the magnitude of the event. Traditional economic partners such as Russia, China, Mexico, Venezuela, and Spain are well-represented.

In a concerted effort to improve the business and foreign investment climate, Cuba focuses on strategic sectors including renewable energy, transportation, tourism, industry, mining, and the agro-food sphere. The government is keen on relaxing certain regulations and removing internal barriers to streamline processes.

Cuba aims to revitalize its depressed economy, which has suffered due to the United States’ economic, commercial, and financial blockade, sanctions, the COVID-19 pandemic, and missteps during the implementation of monetary and exchange policy.

During the inauguration of the Russian Pavilion at FIHAV’s 39th edition, the Russian Ambassador to Havana, Viktor Koronelli, highlighted the presence of over 20 Russian companies as indicative of the growing interest in the Cuban market.

These companies span a diverse range of sectors including energy, chemical industry, IT technologies, construction, automotive industry, food production, and logistic services.

This business participation stems from commitments made at the 20th Session of the Russian-Cuban Intergovernmental Commission for Economic-Commercial and Scientific-Technical Collaboration held in May.

Ambassador Koronelli proudly referenced the launch of the largest electric steel plant on the island, Antillana de Acero, modernized with a Russian governmental credit.

Regular air communication between Russia and Cuba, restarted on July 1, has boosted the influx of Russian tourists to Cuban resorts, contributing to an even deeper bilateral trade, economic, and investment relationship.

## Strategic Partnerships and Economic Growth

Ana Teresa González, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment of Cuba, underscored the growing momentum of Russian-Cuban economic and trade relations—which matches the political ties between the two governments.

She touched upon reciprocal visits enhancing collaboration; Russian investment opportunities in tourism, mining, agribusiness, and transportation; and advancements following agreements between Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel and Russian President Vladimir Putin in November 2022 during Díaz-Canel’s visit to Moscow.

Gonzalez highlighted Russia’s active and effective role in Cuba’s National Plan for Economic and Social Development 2030, as well as recent pact signings under the cooperative framework, bilateral agenda for 2023-2030, and plans to cultivate essential collaborative venues.

The Russian representation at FIHAV, featuring entrepreneurs and the governor of the Riazan region, Pavel Malkov, mirrors the diligent endeavors of both nations reaffirming the intent to strengthen ties.

## A Storefront in Havana

Evguéni Meytes, a business representative from the Russian company Rus Market, disclosed the inaugurated slated for March 2024 of a store in Havana. This outlet will offer canned meats and vegetables, chocolates, Abrau brand champagne and wines, and other Russian products.

Olga Sidorik, Export Manager at Ladoga Group—one of Russia’s leading alcoholic beverage firms—recognized Cuba’s potential due to the significant influx of Russian tourists, especially to Varadero in the province of Matanzas.

Held from November 6 to 11, the 39th edition of FIHAV aligns numerous official delegations fronted by ministers, deputy ministers, secretaries-general, mayors, governors, or country directors from nations like Belize, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Bolivia, and Colombia.

In a rapidly changing global landscape, FIHAV 2023 stands as a beacon of international collaboration, showcasing Cuba’s re-emergence on the commercial stage and its deepening accord with strategic ally Russia.

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