China's Xi eyes increased investment in Cuba

2014-07-23 10:30
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro at Revolution Palace in Havana. (File, AFP)

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro at Revolution Palace in Havana. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Havana - Chinese President Xi Jinping met his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro on Tuesday in a visit to expand investment in the fellow communist nation, his last stop on a four-country Latin American charm offensive.

Castro greeted Xi with military honours at the Palace of the Revolution, where the two later held private talks.

Cuba began opening up its economy in 2008, but has not grown as much as hoped and could desperately use more Chinese investment.

Xi for his part has made a point during his tour of reaching out to countries often shunned by US and European investors, including Venezuela and Argentina as well as Cuba.

The opening of the Cuban economy - which some analysts see as an effort to follow in China's footsteps - has created new opportunities to tighten bilateral ties, said Xi, who arrived on Monday night in Havana.

"Cuba is already fully promoting the updating of its economic model, which means new and important development opportunities for Chinese-Cuban ties," he said.

China is already the Caribbean island's second-largest trading partner after Venezuela and its primary source of credit, filling the gap left by the US embargo on Cuba and its long-time exclusion from institutions such as the World Bank.

Coinciding with Xi's trip, about 50 Chinese entrepreneurs travelled to Havana to explore business opportunities, attracted by foreign investment incentives and the future Mariel free trade zone outside the capital.

"We want Chinese businessmen to invest in Cuba and partner with Cuban companies," said Cuba's director general for foreign investment, Deborah Rivas.

Chinese and Cuban officials inaugurated a factory Tuesday that will use Chinese technology to make "biosensors" to monitor diabetics' blood sugar.

On Wednesday Xi is due to travel to Santiago de Cuba, the country's second-largest city, where he is expected to announce Chinese co-operation deals, perhaps in rebuilding housing destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

The Chinese president may also pay a visit to retired revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, aged 87, who led Cuba for five decades until failing health prompted him to hand power to his 83-year-old brother eight years ago.

Growing trade ties

Such a visit would echo one by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who kicked off his own Latin America tour in Cuba 10 days ago by meeting with Castro.

The father of the Cuban Revolution called the visits "historic" in an article in official newspaper Granma on Tuesday.

China and Russia "are two countries called to lead a new world that will allow the survival of humanity," he said.

The Chinese and Russian leaders' tours have underlined their growing ties with a region often considered the United States' back yard, and bookended a summit of the Brics group of emerging powers where calls for less US and European dominance of international affairs featured prominently.

The group - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - launched a new $50bn development bank and $100bn reserve fund designed to provide an alternative to the Western-led World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

The Cuban president hailed the move as contributing to "a new international order".

Xi kicked off his tour last week in Brazil by proposing a new $20bn infrastructure fund for Latin America, underlining the fast-growing Asian giant's increasing interest in the resource-rich region.

The trip, his second to Latin America since taking office last year, has also taken him to Argentina and Venezuela. He offered cash-strapped Buenos Aires an $11bn currency swap and signed a raft of oil and mineral deals with Caracas.

Chinese trade with Latin America has grown rapidly in recent years, reaching $261.6bn in 2013. China is now the second-largest trading partner of many countries, including Argentina and Cuba, and has been Brazil's largest since 2009.

That is a dramatic change from 1990, when China ranked just 17th on the list of Latin American export destinations.
Read more on:    brics  |  raul castro  |  xi jinping  |  cuba  |  china
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

40% off top appliances!

Save 40% on the top 10 appliances on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save 20% on Camping gear!

Buy 4 camping items and save 20%. While stocks last. Shop now!

Fifty Shades of Grey!

This great read will captivate you from cover to cover and leave you itching for more. Get your copy now!

20% off braai items!

Save 20% when you buy 2 braai items. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Pampers!

Save 30% when you buy 3 or more selected pampers products. While stocks last. Shop now!

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You are on form and you may like an audience to share your ideas and concepts with. Drama and creativity flavour your...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.