Dutch firms join trade mission to Cuba

Representatives from 23 different Dutch firms are heading to Cuba this weekend in the hope of doing business on the island, the NRC Handelsblad reports on Friday.

‘It is the biggest Dutch economic delegation ever to visit Havana,’ Gerard Vaandrager, director the trade promotion group NCH told the paper.
The mission comes just one month after Fidel Castro said he is handing over the leadership of the communist country to his brother Raúl.
‘There are enough signs that a more liberal wind is going to blow on Cuba,’ Vaandrager told the NRC. ‘Our visit comes at an extremely strategic moment.’
At present foreign companies which do business with Cuba run the risk of ending up on a US blacklist. America has operated a trade embargo on the island since 1961.
Banking concern ING stopped its lucrative activities on the Caribbean island last year under US pressure, the NRC points out.
The names of the companies taking part in the mission is being kept secret, the NRC said. But Rabobank did admit it is on the list. ‘We are curious about the new economic possibilities,’ spokesman Raymond Salet said, adding that the bank was not afraid of US sanctions.
Three Rotterdam shipping companies are also among the delegates, the NRC says.
Agriculture is another important sector where Dutch firms can play a role in reforming the Cuban economy, Vaandrager told the paper.

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