14ymedio, Havana, 20 September 2019 — On the American continent, Cuba is Russia’s main trading partner and seeks to take advantage of this, although to do so it must seek alternatives that allow it to overcome the effects of the embargo or the dependence on the dollar. This was explained by Sputnik agency official Tatiana Mashkova, vice president of the Cuba-Russia business committee and general director of the Russian National Committee for Economic Cooperation with Latin American Countries (CN CEPLA).
On Wednesday, Mashkova attended the inauguration of the first National Exhibition of Cuba in Russia, an event that ends this Friday and in which the Island presented more than 50 companies to offer Moscow bilateral trade opportunities. There, the official talked about Russian plans to help the Government of Havana get out of the delicate economic situation it is experiencing.
“We know that Cuba is experiencing quite difficult times. But I think that we will overcome them together,” she said. Russia faces sanctions from the US and its allies with regards to carrying out some operations with the Island, therefore, according to the official, both countries must “work on more efficient economic schemes for collaboration.”
Mashkova said that trade without the dollar would be beneficial for both parties. “We must see how we can — in our mutual trade — avoid the US dollar [which] greatly prevents our collaboration.”
Among the alternatives, Mashkova referred to mechanisms such as bartering and the use of the ruble in commercial transactions. “We have to see how we can buy and sell products or services for rubles, which is also absolutely feasible,” she explained.
The official insisted, during the event, that Russian businesspeople are interested in the Cuban market and its products and that many companies that had not been initially accredited for the exhibition asked to be included in order to get to know Cuba’s offers first hand.
Mashkova explained that in Russia there is much ignorance about the Island; only the most commonly exported products — coffee, tobacco and rum — are known. “Very few people know,” she said, “that Cuba can offer infocommunication products, for example, that it is working hard on software. Or that Cuba is now a country that is now offering the highest leve of biotechnologies for medicine or agriculture,” she said.
Among the strongest offerings from Havana for this fair are pharmaceuticals, and a presentation from BioCubaFarma captured a large audience.
“I always insist that we can never say that there is a relationship between a big brother and a little brother; it is not so because the truth is that relations have to be balanced and there is a mutual interest,” Mashkova added, before insisting that Russia makes no gifts to Cuba.
“There is a common interest, not only of an economic nature but also of a political nature,” she noted.
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