Cuba wants Russia’s advice on market reforms | World News

Cuba wants Russia’s advice on market reforms | World News

After a lot hesitation about the right way to cope with small and medium-size non-public enterprises it approved in 2021, the Cuban authorities is popping to Russia for assist with market reforms on the island by way of a partnership with a Russian suppose tank headed by sanctioned oligarch Oleg Deripaska, as the 2 international locations vow to take their relationship to “a brand new degree.”


Russian President Vladimir Putin meets together with his Cuban counterpart Miguel Diaz-Canel on Oct. 29, 2019, on the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence exterior Moscow.

The creation of a Center for Economic Transformation, in partnership with the Moscow-based Stolypin Institute for the Economy of Growth, got here throughout a latest assembly between Cuba’s chief, Miguel Díaz-Canel, and a delegation of Russian officers and businessmen in Havana.

The head of the delegation, Russian politician and champagne firm proprietor Boris Titov, instructed Russian information retailers Interfax and Sputnik that the institute, beneath Deripaska’s management as chairman of the board, will assist Cuba perform financial reforms involving the non-public sector. Deripaska was sanctioned in April 2018 as a part of the U.S. response to the Russian authorities’s annexation of Crimea, Ukraine. He was indicted final September for violating these sanctions.

Titov, whose official title is Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights, mentioned the help Russia can present by way of the brand new heart consists of sharing technological experience.

“Russia has expertise in creating digital techniques for firms. Our job is to share with our Cuban pals the digital applied sciences efficiently utilized in Russia,” he mentioned.

Titov additionally instructed the Russian information company Tass that his authorities intends to broaden commerce with the island and has proposed opening a Russian “buying and selling home” in Havana in partnership with Cimex, a Cuban authorities firm that’s a part of the army conglomerate GAESA. Both Cimex and GAESA are beneath U.S. sanctions.

“The Russian aspect is now working very onerous to take our financial relations (with Cuba) to a brand new degree,” Titov was quoted as saying.

“Our proposal is to create a Russian buying and selling home right here, in Havana, with the participation of Cimex, which might grow to be the only wholesale importer of merchandise and independently decide costs on the retail market. In the approaching days, we predict a response from the Cuban authorities,” Titov mentioned.

Tass reported that Cuba’s deputy prime minister and overseas commerce and funding minister, Rodrigo Malmierca, promised authorities help for the proposal.

“We are working to make sure that Russian investments in Cuba are topic to particular safety,” Malmierca mentioned, in response to the report.

After being named head of the Russia-Cuba Business Council earlier this month, Titov instructed Tass that the 2 governments had been working collectively to seek out methods to evade U.S. monetary sanctions.

As “each international locations are beneath sanctions, it might be essential to develop new mechanisms for mutual settlements, which can mitigate the fallout from restrictions,” Titov mentioned at the moment. “Such choices as ruble-denominated settlements, cryptocurrencies and clearing schemes are being explored.”

Russia and Cuba have been steadily getting nearer up to now few years. Vladimir Putin’s authorities has prolonged loans to Cuba and supplied to delay debt funds until 2027. The two nations have launched cooperation initiatives in a number of areas, together with vitality and transportation.

But the extent of political contacts because the starting of the conflict in Ukraine final 12 months has elevated, with each governments vowing to strengthen the connection.

Díaz-Canel traveled to Moscow in November and met with Putin, in search of financial support, because the island experiences the worst financial disaster because the collapse of the Soviet Union. The head of Cuba’s National Assembly, Esteban Lazo, additionally traveled to Moscow.

Díaz-Canel and Putin talked once more on the telephone in late December. At the time, the Russian overseas ministry mentioned the 2 leaders talked about reinforcing the “strategic Russian-Cuban cooperation.”

Trade between the 2 international locations additionally grew final 12 months, when Cuba ramped up imports of Russian oil. Commercial commerce between the 2 international locations was valued at greater than $633 million, simply behind commerce with China, Venezuela, Spain and Canada, in response to official Cuban knowledge. Six years earlier, in 2016, that quantity was $223 million.

Russia is searching for new markets for its merchandise, particularly amongst international locations prepared to keep up financial ties regardless of Western sanctions punishing Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Both Russia and Cuba are beneath U.S. sanctions, and Cuban authorities have parroted the Kremlin’s propaganda in regards to the conflict in Ukraine whereas failing to sentence Putin in worldwide boards. The two governments additionally preserve shut army ties.

But consultants level to the irony of Cuba’s searching for steering on capitalist reforms from Russia, a rustic plagued with corruption and an economic system pushed by oligarchs searching for the Kremlin’s favors.

“They are searching for assist from a authorities that is aware of the right way to earn cash and create a non-public sector that has some huge cash concentrated in a number of palms, and wealth derives from connectivity to the federal government,” mentioned John Kavulich, the president of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council. “The Russian Federation has some very rich individuals. Perhaps the Cuban authorities prefers it that approach.”