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Vietnam's President Tran Dai Quang emphasized his country's interest in strengthening bilateral ties with Cuba in areas such as agriculture, construction, tourism, science and technology, education, health and transport.
At the opening of a bi-national business forum, the president said that in the meeting held with his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro, they both agreed to strengthen economic and commercial bonds and place them at the same level of the special political relations between the two governments.
We also agree to maintain the mechanisms of the Intergovernmental Commission on economic cooperation more frequently, flexibly and efficiently, he argued.
He said that Cuba and Vietnam will soon negotiate to sign the new trade agreement, replacing the one signed in 1996, in order to temper that legal framework to the current conditions and exploit the existing collaboration advantages.
The Asian president commented that Raul and he also agreed to continue creating favorable conditions for businessmen from both countries to execute contracts and cooperation projects, and in particular to support the materialization of Vietnam's investment proposals at Mariel Special Development Zone.
Dai Quang stressed the willingness of the parties to help businessmen from both countries to implement joint projects in fields such as agriculture, infrastructure construction, tourism, biopharmaceutical, energy, finance and banking.
He referred to the culmination with favorable results of the rice production program, which took place in the period 2011-2015, adding that both countries continue the study for the implementation of other plans in agriculture.
He noted that some Vietnamese businessmen are currently promoting investment projects in Cuba in the tourist infrastructure sectors, and mentioned the construction of a five-star hotel, as well as works in the oil and gas field.
Rodrigo Malmierca, Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, stressed that the historic friendship between the Caribbean island and the Asian nation has been a fundamental basis in strengthening collaboration, with concrete results such as the rice production program, which will include a fifth stage in the period 2017-2021.
He reported that progress is being made in implementing the bilateral economic agenda, signed in 2014, and that important projects are being developed in the field of biotechnology and health for the production of drugs and vaccines in Vietnamese territory.
Vietnam is Cuba's second largest trading partner in the Asia and Oceania region, and its main supplier of rice, not only through direct imports, but also through the promotion and development of food programs.
In addition, it is represented in Mariel Special Development Zone with a project for the production of disposable diapers.
The meeting at the Nacional Hotel was attended by Orlando Hernandez Guillen, president of the Cuban Chamber of Commerce; Doung Minh, Vietnamese ambassador to Havana; Vu Tien Loc, head of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as other members of the Asian delegation.
This is Dai Quang´s first official visit to Cuba since he took office as head of state in his country on April this year.
After completing his stay in Cuba today, he will travel to Peru to attend the 24th Summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, to be held from November 17 to 20, in Lima. (acn)

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