Links within blockquotes added during translation – JR
Beijing, July 5, (RHC), – China and Cuba on Thursday vowed to further strengthen the existing friendly relations and cooperation. Both partners signed a series of key economic agreements during the Cuban leader Raul Castro’s ongoing visit to Beijing.
The sympathetic remarks were made during talks between Chinese President Hu Jintao and visiting President of Cuba’s Council of State and the Council of Ministers Raul Castro Ruz at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.
During the meeting, President Hu called on the two countries to expand trade and economic cooperation, and to strengthen coordination and cooperation on major issues including the UN reform, climate change and sustainable development.
He also reiterated China’s support for Cuba in maintaining its sovereignty and exploring a socialist way with its own national characteristics.
For his part, the Cuban dignitary praised the traditional friendship between the two countries and expressed Cuba’s admiration for China’s successful experience in national development.
Radio Havana Cuba, July 5, 2012
Cuban president Raúl Castro has met with Hu Jintao in Beijing. The two communist heads of state agreed to deepen economic cooperation. China is Cuba’s biggest trade partner after Venezuela. [...]
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, July 5, 2012
Raúl Castro obtains Chinese commitments on financial and agricultural cooperation
The loan of an unknown amount was signed by Banco Nacional de Cuba director Juliana Maritza Martínez, and China Development Bank president (foreign branch) director Chen Yuan, after the meeting between the two leaders in the Great Hall of the People.
Also, Cuban vice president Ricardo Cabrisas and Chinese minister of commerce Chen Deming signed two agreements on economic and technological cooperation, involving grants and no-interest loans, the amount of which wasn’t made public either.
In total, the two sides signed eight documents, east of Tian An Men Square, including a memorandum on customs cooperation which will take effect in 2013 and be completed in 2015.
It’s Castro’s first trip to China as the Cuban regime’s máximo líder, although he had been to the Asian giant in 1997 and in 2005, then to survey the “Chinese experiment”, with economic reforms but without political opening, and now to obtain Beijing’s support in Cuba’s current changes.
Raúl Castro has started economic openings on the island which are reminiscent of the initial years of China’s reforms, including a reduction of an oversized civil service on the Caribbean island, and beginning private initiative.
El País, Spain, July 5, 2012
Habana, March 30, EFE – World Health Organization director general, China’s Margaret Chan, affirmed in Cuba today that the island is facing the challenges of an aging population, rising diseases such as cancer, and of maintaining a sustainable and quality health system.
“To move on with its system, (Cuba) needs to make it sustainable, satisfy the expectations of its population, and to make it efficient and of good quality”, Chen emphasized on a press conference in Havana.
The WHO leader praised the comprehensive and humane approach of Cuba’s health system, as well as the country’s authorities’ “commitment” to the people’s health since the 1959 revolution.
She warned that the country, just as many others, faced challenges such as an aging population, and increasing cases of cardial diseases, cancer, and diabetes.
Chan arrived in Cuba on Monday for a WHO Global Policy Meeting in Havana, and was received by president Raúl Castro today, with whom she discussed a number of cooperation projects, according to a state television report.
On Friday, Chan signed a agreement with Cuban health minister Roberto Morales, on work between the WHO, the Pan American Health Organization, and Cuba.
At the same ceremony, a memorandum of understanding between the Pan American Health Organization and the Inter-American Center for Social Security Studies was signed, to form a consortium of universities for public health and aging, for Latin America and the Caribbean.
It is expected that this will involve academic institutions and services from several countries in the region, such as Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Costa Rica.
Chan emphasized that as part of the WHO-Cuban cooperation, work in terms of technology transfer and knowledge was important, so that other countries in- and outside the region could produce generic drugs of high quality and availability.
She also stated that the WHO had worked with Cuba for years, on several projects, many of them in the sector of bio-technology.
The [WHO] director also took part in the National Congress of Geriatrics and Gerontology held in the Cuban capital this week. — EFE
Vietnam has called on the United States to put an immediate end to its economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba.
Hoang Chi Trung, Vietnamese Charge d’affaires to the United Nations, made the demand at the plenary meeting of the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly in New York on October 30.
“Vietnam holds that this longest-ever embargo in history runs counter to the fundamental principles of international law, the UN Charter and the regulations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO),” Mr Trung said.
Voice of Vietnam, October 31, 2007
The Tools of Business
The United States, Europe, and Japan, by contrast, have to deal with more powerful and vocal domestic business interests, and with legislatures that respond to these businesses. This is one reason why the United States has not launched a trade agreement with all of Southeast Asia, and why Japan has been unable to complete a bilateral agreement with any Asian nation except Singapore and the Philippines.
Western protectionism has complicated trade with even the poorest cuntries. As the United States and Vietnam established closer trade relations in the 1990s and early 2000s, twenty-five years after the end of the Vietnam War, Vietnamese ctfish farmers in the Mekong River Delta, who previously had sold their catches to Vietnamese state firms for break-even prices, saw an opportunity. Hundreds of catfish farmers began exporting to the United States, and by 2001 Vietnamese catfish exports to America reached $38 million, a significant sum for the Vietnamese farmers but a small figure in the $11 billion US market for seafood imports. Still, American catfish farmers, who had seen the Vietnamese capture at least 20 per cent of the US market, lodged a complaint with Washington, charging that the Vietnamese were selling fish below cost, or dumping. The Vietnamese argued that they could sell fish cheaply simply because of low labor costs, but the US Commerce Department disagreed, imposing steep tarriffs on Vietnamese imports. Vietnamese catfish exports to the United States plummeted.
Joshua Kurlantzick, Charm Offensive, 2007, pp. 96 – 97, drawing on this story.
*) The pun is (probably) unintended – sín embargo means “however”, “all the same”, and Sín Embargo‘s coverage goes beyond Cuba (or Mexico, for that matter).