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Brazil to Send Business Leaders to Cuba in Push to Rebuild Ties – Bloomberg

Lula Da Silva, Brazil's president (Bloomberg)
Lula Da Silva, Brazil’s president (Bloomberg)

Daniel Carvalho, Bloomberg News

BRASILIA
EnergiesNet.com 09 04 2023

A delegation of at least 30 Brazilian business leaders will travel to Havana on Monday in search of opportunities to boost trade with Cuba, the latest step in President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s push to repair relations between the two nations.

The four-day mission will take place ahead of Lula’s own trip to the Caribbean island, where he will meet with Cuba leader Miguel Diaz-Canel and take part in the Group of 77 meetings, a United Nations economic summit of developing countries. 

Brazil’s ties with Cuba deteriorated under right-wing former President Jair Bolsonaro, although they were never fully severed. Since taking office in January, Lula has sought to rebuild relations with both Havana and Venezuela, and met with Diaz-Canel on the sidelines of a global finance summit in Paris earlier this year.

That has created an opening for industry leaders eager to bolster trade relationships, according to Jorge Viana, the head of the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, or Apex, which is leading the trip.

“That’s an opportunity to to resume our trade relations, after the previous Brazilian government left Cuba aside,” Viana said in a statement. “It makes no sense for Brazil to turn its back on Central America and the Caribbean countries, including Cuba, as we have done for the past four years.”

Brazil is the fourth-largest supplier of goods to Cuba, behind only Spain, China and the US, according to Apex. But the volume of its exports in 2022 was little more than half of what it sent to the island 10 years earlier.

Read More: Lula Weighs Cuba Debt as Brazil Pushes to Revive Relations

The trip will include business leaders from the air transportation, agriculture, energy and health industries. The names of those joining the delegation were not disclosed. 

Food, industrial machinery, transportation equipment and chemicals are the areas with the largest export opportunities in Cuba, according to Apex. The agency also expects the creation of a commercial airline route connecting Sao Paulo and Havana, it said in the statement.

Lula will also travel to New York for the United Nations General Assembly this month. He is planning to meet there with President Joe Biden, whose efforts to reorient US policy toward its longtime adversaries in Havana have been largely overshadowed by other global priorities.

bloomberg.com 08 01 2023

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