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Cuba looks to expand trade with Colombia

Colombia and Cuba have expanded their trade relationship. Tariffs will be eliminated on more than 2,000 Colombian products, including agricultural goods, construction materials and textiles.

Bilateral commercial ties between the two countries already exist, valued at only $70 million last year, and represented mostly Colombian exports to Cuba. That figure would rise as Cuba moves to develop its agriculture and tourism sectors. Colombia wants more Cuban products such as medicines.

Cuba is a part of World Trade Organization for two decades and international trade in goods and services accounts for about 45 per cent of the island’s 77 billion dollar economy. Cuba hasn’t signed any full-scale free trade agreements. It has partial agreements with a number of countries and regional trade organizations. As a member of Aladi, a Latin American association designed to foster economic integration, Cuba receives discounts on tariffs for products it exports. And it has pacts with most Latin American countries, most notably Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador.

Cuba is working to ease trade restrictions with the US and permit the free movement of people. Cuba has begun permitting its own people to expand private businesses and is wooing foreign investors. The country is interested in increasing commerce with other countries.