National Assembly (NA) Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue and Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz attended a Vietnam-Cuba business forum in Havana on April 21 (local time), as part of the former's ongoing official visit to the Latin American country.

The forum drew a large number of businesses in various fields, including agriculture, food, fisheries, energy, industry, construction, real estate, tourism, trade, aviation and areas that Cuba is calling for foreign investment in.

Addressing the event, Cuban Vice President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment of Cuba Ricardo Cabrisas highlighted the great cooperation potential between the two countries in many fields, and called for all businesses of both sides to continue to seek new partnership opportunities and measures to realise their targets.

He held that amid the complicated world economic situation, the two sides should find out new methods and solutions to create firm connections in production and cooperation in key areas, thus making the bilateral economic and trade relations match the traditional historical relationship, solidarity and friendship between the two countries. He said he believes that Cuba can grow stronger with Vietnam's engagement.

Vietnamese Minister of Construction Nguyen Thanh Nghi said that over the years, the Vietnam-Cuba special solidarity and cooperation have been continuously developing and expanding in all fields from politics, diplomacy to economy, trade, investment, culture, and science-technology with fruitful results. Cooperation in trade and investment has played an important role in promoting the comprehensive partnership between the two countries, he stated.

Nghi noted that Vietnam is currently the second biggest Asian trade partner of Cuba, with two-way trade reaching about 250-350 million USD each year in the 2015-2020 period.

Vietnam's major exports to Cuba include rice, electric appliances, electronics, garments, footwear, cosmetics, construction materials, industrial materials, household appliances, and stationery.

Vietnam mainly imports medicines, vaccines and medical bio-products from Cuba, he said. He emphasised that the Vietnam-Cuba Trade Agreement, which took effect in April 2020, has created an important legal foundation for businesses of both sides to make full use of preferential tariffs to raise two-way trade to 500 million USD per annum in the next five years.

In terms of investment, Vietnam is currently the biggest Asian investor in Cuba with five projects which partly meet the commodity demands of the Cuban market, create jobs for local labourers, and contribute to promoting the local production industry's sustainable growth and become self-reliant in all circumstances.

At the forum, leaders of Vietnamese and Cuban ministries, sectors and businesses discussed the bilateral collaboration potential in areas of shared interest, updating information on trade incentives and foreign investment attraction policies of Cuba, as well as priority areas and promising projects in the country.

At the event, NA Chairman Hue, the Cuban PM and participants witnessed the signing and exchange of cooperation agreements between businesses of the two countries in the areas of electricity, oil and gas, construction materials and aviation./.