The Russia–Latin America Business Forum took place in Havana on 29 October. The event coincided with the 16th meeting of the Intergovernmental Russian-Cuban Commission on Trade, Economic, and Scientific and Technical Cooperation, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Yury Borisov and Vice President of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba Ricardo Cabrisas Ruíz.
The plenary session of the Second Business Forum focused on the prospects of cooperation between Russia and Latin America, as well as current global political and economic challenges.
“Between 2014 and 2017, SPIEF hosted the roundtable on the relations between Russia and Latin America four times. In March 2016 the Roscongress Foundation organized a SPIEF visiting session in Uruguay. Today the hospitable Cuba welcomes guests of this event that already became a tradition. We’ll be glad to see the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean represented at the largest international events and forums in Russia next year. I am confident that efficient cooperation between Russian and Latin American businesses is essential for enhancing trade and developing investment ties. The objective of the Russian Government is to create comfortable conditions for joint projects and to support initiatives of the business community,” stated Yury Borisov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, at the opening plenary session.
Among those taking part at the Forum’s plenary session were Minister of Finance and Public Credit of the Republic of Nicaragua Iván Acosta; Minister of Economy of the Republic of Guatemala Acisclo Valladares; Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Cuba Orlando Hernández Guillén; and First Deputy General Director of Russian Railways Alexander Misharin. The speakers discussed long-term projects in energy, industry, transport infrastructure, and agriculture, which have been launched in the interests of sustainable trade and economic ties. They also highlighted new sources of growth in Russian-Latin American relations. The session was moderated by Sergey Brilev, television presenter, Deputy Director of the Rossiya TV Channel, and President of the Bering-Bellingshausen Institute for the Americas.
Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation Anton Kobyakov noted that the Havana Business Forum will give a further boost to the development of trade and economic relations between Russia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. “Cooperation between Russia and Cuba are continuing to develop unabated. Collaboration between the countries extends to politics, trade, economics, finance, transport, the humanitarian sphere, and tourism. It is therefore fitting that a business forum of this kind has been held here specifically. This platform, and the multilateral dialogue it fosters, invariably creates a foundation for long-term partnerships and gives rise to new ideas. I firmly believe that the Russia–Latin America Business Forum will herald new, ambitious projects and initiatives. This dialogue between Russia, Latin America, and the Caribbean is also set to continue at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, which will take place on 6–8 June 2019,” he said.
The business programme continued with a roundtable entitled “Russia–Cuba: New Horizons for Cooperation”, which examined trade and economic collaboration between the two countries. The roundtable was moderated by Mariya Bondareva, television presenter of the Rossiya 24 TV Channel. A number of senior executives from major Russian and Latin American enterprises and export-oriented companies took part in the lively discussion. Among them were Vice-President for External Relations and Relations with Shareholders at AVTOVAZ and Chairman of the Russia–Cuba Business Council Eduard Vaino; Deputy Director of SPbSRIVS Andrey Vasiliev; General Director of EXIAR Nikita Gusakov; President of BioCubaFarma Eduardo Martínez Díaz; Deputy Director General for Relations with Government Authorities at Sinara-Transport Machines Anton Zubikhin; President of Banco Internacional de Comercio (BICSA) José Lázaro Alari Martinez; and General Director of Energoimport and Chairman of the Russian-Cuban Business Council (BICSA) Rafael Ernesto Lage Pérez; Director General of InterRAO – Export LLC Maxim Sergeev; Deputy Director General of TECHZVETMET Alexey Khovanov; Director for Special Commissions of Rosoboronexport Sergey Goreslavsky; President of Rosatom Latin America Ivan Dybov and other businessmen, as well as representatives of the expert community and media.
The Forum was organized by the Roscongress Foundation with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment of the Republic of Cuba, and the Bering-Bellingshausen Institute for the Americas. TECHZVETMET was the general partner of the event, while the St Petersburg Scientific Research Institute of Vaccines and Serums, and the Biopharmaceutical Plant under the Federal Medical Biological Agency of Russia (SPbSRIVS) was the business programme partner. This event formed part of the official business programme of the 36th Havana International Fair (FIHAV 2018). The fair hosted a joint meeting of the Russia–Cuba and Cuba–Russia councils. A Russian stand, set up by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, attracted a high degree of interest among visitors to the expo.
In conclusion of the Forum the Roscongress Foundation and the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Cuba signed a memorandum of cooperation. Additionally, giftbags with stationery supplies have been presented to Cuba’s school children in a special ceremony.