HAVANA – Authorities of the Belgian port of Antwerp, Europe’s second-busiest, said Tuesday in Havana that they are ready to cooperate with Cuba in the Mariel Special Development Zone, or ZEDM, a port and trade complex aimed at luring foreign investment.
Antwerp representatives are taking part in an economic mission made up of 26 companies that traveled to the Caribbean country led by the minister-president of the Flanders region, Geert Bourgeois, to strengthen trade ties.
The director of the APEC Antwerp/Flanders Port Training Center, Tessa Major, told EFE that the ZEDM is a “very important project.”
“We think the Cuban government and Mariel can benefit from what we’ve learned,” Major said. “For APEC it’s always important to make new friends through training and the exchange of knowledge.”
Members of this trade delegation, the largest to come from Belgium to the Caribbean island, visited Monday the ZEDM installations, which are still under construction.
Among the Belgian business leaders who have come to Cuba looking for business opportunities are representatives of companies in a wide variety of sectors including tourism, food, construction, communications, logistics, chemistry and services.
Belgium is Cuba’s fifth-largest trade partner in the world.
What the European country buys from Cuba are principally petroleum products and cigars, while the Caribbean island imports a series of products from Belgium, above all from the chemical, metallurgical and food categories.