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First Czech business delegation leaves for Cuba

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Prague/Havana, Oct 10 (CTK) – The first group of representatives from Czech firms in modern history is leaving today for Cuba where it will join an official delegation headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Tlapa.

The business delegation represents firms that want to follow up the tradition of their predecessors, including Wikov Industry (formerly Skoda Cogwheels) and Full Medical Services, following up cooperation between former Czechoslovakia and Cuba’s public health care.

The maker of medical beds Linet has already started negotiations about contracts in Cuba.

The journey aims to open business opportunities on the Cuban market as the political situation in the country has been improving.

“I can see a big potential for future cooperation between firms in the spheres of science and research, energy, engineering, transport, food industry and tourism. Cuba is a country that needs almost everything,” Chamber of Commerce President Vladimir Dlouhy has said.

Czech Finance Ministry representatives want to negotiate about settling Cuba’s debt of almost seven billion crowns to the Czech Republic.

Tlapa said one of the possibilities of repaying the debt is its capitalisation via Czech firms participating in projects in Cuba.

“We hope to renew trade cooperation and follow up the good name of many Made in Czechoslovakia products that gives us a certain advantage over other countries,” said Ivana Tichotova, chairwoman of the Czech-Slovak-Cuban Mixed Chamber of Commerce that was established in August.

She said the Czechs can also help Cuba train a qualified workforce. “In this sphere, too, we can follow up the tradition of a rich cooperation between our countries,” Tichotova said about the journey.

Another delegation of Czech businesspeople headed by a deputy industry minister will leave for Cuba in early November.

Czech exports to Cuba reached 513 million crowns last year. The exports included grain, electrical appliances and apparatuses, dairy products, rubber products, pharmaceuticals and fertilisers. The Czech Republic imported from Cuba goods worth 268 million crowns, mainly rum, tobacco products, pharmaceuticals, coffee, cocos and fish.

($1=23.856 crowns)

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