Cuba Chamber of Commerce seeks to boost exports

12 de March de 2021

The Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Cuba (CCC) looks for enhance and diversify exports and foreign investment, key elements in the socio-economic strategy outlined, said today its president, Antonio Carricarte.

Interviewed by Prensa Latina, Carricarte emphasized that in the face of restrictions imposed in the confrontation on the Covid-19, in 2020 the institution strengthened the information technology structure, in order to carry out its work virtually.  During that period, he said, more than 50 meetings were conducted with the nation’s leading exporting companies to align the strategy and form particular programs that could link them to the outside the world.

In addition, they created cores in existing sections of the House– which currently brings together more than 900 companies – to achieve a more particular promotion of the prioritized sectors of the economy.

In this context, emerged clusters of agro-industrial, computer and communications technologies, health, agri-food, steel and culture sectors, with a large quarry of possibilities to enter the external market.

He noted that despite the impact of the pandemic in 2020 they had more contacts with chambers, countries and counterpart organizations than in a normal year, and the complaint of the economic, trade and financial blockade imposed by the United States, as the main obstacle in the development of the island, was always present.

We made a total of 50 video conferencing, with the participation of companies from 49 countries, space that we use to update collaboration agreements and action plans, emphasizing exports, he narrowed down.

All this gave him a dynamic in the work of the CCC and allowed us to know in greater depth the interests of each branch of our economy, he said.

We found, he said, that there is enormous export potential in the territories and it is up to the CCC, in its role to support the entrepreneurs, to conduct that joint process with the Ministry of Foreign Trade, the Centre for the Promotion of Trade and Foreign Investment, and the Foreign Trade Training Centre.

‘2020 was a year of organization and improvement in this new stage characterized by a brutal upsurge from the blockade. It is insane what this country has had to go through, with almost particular persecution of foreign trade transactions in the main products, which has been felt in the village,’ Carricarte said.

This demanded individualized attention to each operation to be successful, despite the suffocation we wanted to submit on the financial edge, which is vital, and there the CCC has also been present, it meant. Among the challenges of the institution in 2021 he listed the permanent reporting of the blockade and seeking ways to mitigate its effects, as well as expanding the economic and commercial relations of entities in existing markets and others.

Also link the work of the CCC in a practical way to the government program designed to address the health and economic crises caused by the pandemic; promote the export strategy for goods and services created in foreign trade and implement it effectively. This takes time and study, he precised, we need to strengthen our business intelligence system to provide information about those markets and competition. We are working closely with our embassies and trade advisors to penetrate those markets and sustainably consolidate exports, other than eventual operations, the manager stressed.

Among the lines of work he also mentioned transforming the actions they previously performed in person to the virtual format, which will require companies to gain knowledge of how to participate in a fair or seminar in these technological conditions. Another, he stressed, is to effectively link us to forms of non-state management (private sector) that already have a dynamic presence in the external sphere of the economy, based on contracts made with the more than 30 foreign trade companies that are providing services for their international insertion.

We are committed to training and promoting them, so that they are chained efficiently and effectively with Cuban companies and that the country can win, the president of the Chamber of Commerce said.

To compete you have to have conditions and the CCC has to work for our companies to achieve competitive positions in a market dominated by transnational companies and large value chains; there’s always a niche to find, he narrowed down. Questioned about the government’s monetary and exchange rate ordering process, which established a one-time exchange rate of 24 Cuban pesos for one dollar, Carricarte considered it to be central to exports. ‘An exchange rate correction action, currency devaluation, automatically translates into improved competitive positions of Cuban products,’ he added. But not everything translates into the price issue, it needed, you have to gain in quality, in image, in communicating, promoting, and in all this the CCC is involved. And we want to do it in a particular way for each sector, knowing which problems our products and companies have, in order to diversify and increase exports, Carricarte concluded.

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