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For deeper South-South Cooperation: Indian Industry heads to Cuba 

Financial Express , Oct 22, 2018

In line with the government’s efforts to strengthen South-South Cooperation, India will send a big business delegation to Cuba later this month to participate in FIHAV 2018 from Oct 29-Nov 2. This comes close on the heels of President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to that country recently. Expo Fihav-2018, is considered to be one of the most important multi-sectoral trade fair in Caribbean and Central American region with most government procurement orders and business being conducted at the show.

According to FICCI officials, “the FIHAV is considered to be the most prestigious show in LAC region where close to 3000 exhibitors from 70 countries will participate and there is enormous scope for Indian Exporters along with potential lines of credit from EXIM Bank , and areas including India- Technology collaboration, Skill development, training, SME collaboration are going to be focus areas.”

The industry body along with the Ministry of Commerce & Industry is organizing an India Pavilion at FIHAV 2018, in Cuba which is under transformation and liberalization and one of the last few markets in the world to open up. And has been identified as a game changer for market access for Indian companies seeking business in that market.

Participation in the FIHAV is seen in the context of the government keen on expanding India’s trade basket and getting closer to the region of LatAm region, said a senior officer. In the recent months there have been several high visits from the Indian side including visit by the Vice Present Venkaih Naido and Mos external Affairs Gen VK Singh, and thereafter the momentum of visits at the high level to Latin America will be sustained till the end of the year.

As reported by FE earlier, India could explore opportunities in getting gold from that country as well as seek joint co-operations in copper, nickel and cobalt mining operations. In an earlier interaction, Cuba’s ambassador to India Oscar I Martínez Cordovés had said that, “In view of a new container port in the expanded Panama Canal, the country can be a gateway to not only Central America, but to the US and the Caribbean.”

According to the MEA “Both India and Cuba have been working together on the multilateral fora where both share commonality of views and has a history of cooperation and development in the South South Cooperation Arena which India does too and therefore there is a reinforcement of interests there.”

India has been rendering some kind of development assistance to Cuba through lines of credit in the areas of renewable energy, wind power and has also offered some more developmental assistance in the area of solar power because Cuba is a founding member of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).