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DESPITE the ongoing, all-out efforts by the Bush administration to intensify its blockade of Cuba, the island continues to expand its trade relations, as may be seen at the Havana Trade Fair (FIHAV), which opens the doors to its 24th edition on October 30.

According to Abraham Maciques, president of the FIHAV 2006 organizing committee, and Raúl Becerra, head of the Cuban Chamber of Commerce, more than 750 companies from 43 countries have confirmed their participation, and their displays will occupy 10,833 square meters.

The countries planning to occupy the most space include China, with more than 2,400 m2, Spain with 1,400 and Russia with more than 1,300. Other countries with outstanding participation include Brazil, Italy, Panama and Venezuela.

The ALIMPORT Pavilion, as is usually the case, will feature a large number of companies from the United States, Chile, Switzerland and Uruguay, among others.

At the same time, 11 countries will be represented with government institutions: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Russia, South Korea, Spain and Venezuela.

Official delegations will be led by vice presidents, ministers, deputy ministers, governors and other important individuals from Angola, Algeria, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Guatemala, Nigeria, South Africa and Venezuela. From the fairs inauguration to its closing on November 4, they will be able to appreciate new products and establish commercial ties that respond to their interests.

Cuban companies, for their part, will occupy 5,000 m2, which together with that contracted by foreign firms, adds up to total exhibition space of 15,800 m2, some 2,000 more than last years fair.

Raúl Becerra, president of the Cuban Chamber of Commerce, noted that the 290 Cuban enterprises that will display their products in 87 stands include the health sector, represented by biotechnology entities and the medical/pharmaceutical industry. That industry was the second-largest export line last year after nickel, which will be represented by Cubaníquel, one of the main Cuban basic industry enterprises that markets nickel.

Source: Granma International

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