Speaking to reporters in Havana, the deputy minister of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment, Orlando Hernandez Guillen, said that FIHAV is an excellent opportunity to find new markets and clients for the development of the Cuban economy. Hernandez Guillen said business representatives, commercial partners, presidents and executives of Chambers of Commerce, and official delegations from more than 55 countries were present in the meeting last year and “expectations are higher this year.”

Stoesser said last week that USRPA attended a conference hosted by the Cuban Interests Section on the effects of the U.S. Embargo for Cuba. Included in that conference were various officials from the Ministry of Foreign Relations of Cuba, Foreign Trade and Investments, Tourism, Public Health, Alimport and Havanatur.  Jorge Bolaños, Chief of Mission at the Cuban Interests Section in Washington D.C., introduced the U.S. panel, which included Stoesser and U.S. representatives from the travel, trade, agricultural, and educational sectors.

USRPA has consistently highlighted the need to lift U.S. restrictions on trade with Cuba.

Betsy Ward of the USA Rice Federation says Cuba is a vital trade partner.

“U.S. rice sales mean high quality, low cost rice for Cubans, and lifting sanctions from our farmers and exporters will create jobs in the United States. In fact, the U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that lifting these unnecessary payment restrictions through third-party nations could increase U.S. rice exports to the island by $43 million per year,” she says.

The 39th Havana International Trade Fair, FIHAV 2011, is expected to entertain 3,000 exhibitors from 1,500 companies from 60-plus countries around the world.
Roberts says despite the island´s economic and financial problems, this year’s fair is considered the most important one of the last 10 years, due to the large number of exhibitors and the 14,000-square-meter exhibition area, 1,500 square meters more than the 2010 edition.
According to Abraham Maciquez, president of the organizing committee, the most represented countries this year are Spain, which almost doubled its participation compared with FIHAV 2010, and China, Italy and Panama.