Two American Businessmen Meet with ‘SMEs’ in Cuba to ‘Do Business’

The president of the Chamber of Commerce of Cuba, Antonio Carricarte, in the center, flanked by American businessmen Mark Baum and Jorge Ignacio Fernández. (Tribuna de la Habana)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 7 June 2023 — Two American businessmen visited Havana on Tuesday to talk “about the possibilities of doing business, scientific exchanges, cooperation and instruction,” according to Prensa Latina, which presented the meeting as one with large attendance.

At a press conference, the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Cuba, Antonio Carricarte, highlighted “the potential” for the “entrepreneurs” of the Island, whom he divides into “traditional” – that is, state – and private, to “promote the export to the United States of products such as honey, coffee and charcoal.”

However, the official did not mention that these products  already have an outlet in the European and Canadian markets and that Cuba does not have the capacity to increase production with its current economic rules.

Carricarte spoke of the “possibility” that small and medium sized Cuban businesses (SMEs) can “connect with their American counterparts.” He also said that this is “the first action” of a program that includes “a work agenda” for the rest of the year.

The entrepreneurs who are in Havana are Jorge Ignacio Fernández, as a representative of the Hope for Cuba Foundation, and Mark Baum, with the Food Industry Association.

The founder of the first, which is presented as an NGO that “promotes independent activity in Cuba to strengthen Cuban civil society,” told Prensa Latina that, after this meeting in Havana, “the next step will be to hold a forum in Washington to explain how to do business with Cuba.”

Fernández said that they are not only interested in business, but in “working on issues such as sustainable energy, and even with medical device companies interested in making Cuban vaccines.” These – Abdala, Sovereign 02 and Sovereign Plus – have not yet been recognized by the World Health Organization.

As for Baum, who “works in the packaged consumer goods industry and has more than 30 years of experience,” he expressed interest “in knowing the Cuban market to determine in which areas it is possible to collaborate.”

Both businessmen, the official agency said, “agreed about the effects of the US blockade of Cuba and the inclusion of the Island on the list of countries sponsoring terrorism.” Despite this, says the press release, they stressed that “there are small possibilities that must be taken advantage of in favor of trade.”

An article published by Tribuna de La Habana indicated that Americans want to “exchange with agencies, officials and representatives of local entrepreneurs” and “visit places of interest, in order to feel the reality and explain it to their fellow countrymen.”

The result of this visit, they say, will be “the sending of food to the Cuban people, both by commercial means and through donations.” This includes, according to the same report, the possibility of establishing “food-producing factories and achieving a rapprochement between the farmers of both nations, with the importation of better breeding stock, feed and other inputs in order to increase the levels of milk and meat” on the Island.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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