HAVANA - The Cuban government has signed an agreement with Russia to create a joint venture for storage battery production, the first business in the industrial sector jointly undertaken by the two nations.
The agreement was signed in Havana by Cuban Deputy Minister of Industry Jose Gaspar Alvarez and his Russian counterpart Georgy Kalamanov, at the sixth session of the Working Group of the Ministry of Industry, according to the Cuban News Agency.
The venture, which is set to begin operation in early 2017, is an economic and trade agreement as well as an example of scientific and technical cooperation, said the Cuban deputy minister.
Alvarez highlighted that trade, investment and cooperation has already been achieved between Russia and Cuba in areas such as civil aviation, metallurgy, heavy machinery and special machinery construction, transportation, chemical and light industry.
He also noted progress in the modernization process in Cuba, including for the Jose Marti Steel Company in the Cuban capital, the railway sector, a fertilizer plant and in the upgrading of the textile, footwear and chemistry industry of the island.
After signing the agreement, the representative of the Russian government stressed the importance of bilateral projects and said he hoped that other ministries and companies in his country "will continue adding to the cooperation with Cuba".
In recent years, both countries have sought to revive the close cooperation held before the disintegration of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1991. Two years ago, Russia wrote off 90 percent of Cuba's Soviet era debt.
On Monday, Kalamanov also participated in the opening of the 34th edition of the Havana International Fair (FIHAV 2016 by its Spanish acronym), where entrepreneurs from both countries will study new business opportunities and options to expand bilateral and trade cooperation to other sectors.
At that meeting, another two agreements were signed to modernize the Cuban sugar industry and airport services on the Caribbean island.