The Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Patrick Faber, made an official visit to the Republic of Cuba from 22nd to 26th of May 2017. The objective of this State visit was to strengthen bi-lateral relationship with Cuba. He was accompanied by a delegation of ten from the Government of Belize which included: Ministers, CEOs, Directors, and the Ambassador to Cuba. Belize and Cuba have always had a good relation but bi-lateral trade and investment has been negligible, despite the existence of a trade agreement.
The CARICOM-Cuba Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement (TECA), originally signed by both parties in 2000, was recently re-negotiated with a Second Protocol to amend the TECA. Belize’s Trade Officials have learnt, from a recent meeting of CARICOM’s Council on Trade and Economic Development (COTED) held the week of May 8th to the 17th, 2017 that all CARICOM Member States signatory to the Agreement had indicated their approval of the Second Protocol. The Secretary-General of the CARCIOM Secretariat was in a position to sign the Protocol on behalf of the Community on the 9th November 2017.
Over the past three years, bilateral trade between Belize and Cuba has been minimal. Belize imports from Cuba, on average, BZD 112,000, focusing on a few products, mostly Cigars and Heparin (a blood-thinning agent). Belize’s exports to Cuba are even lower, approximately BZD 75,000 worth of personal and household goods. Evidently, Cuba imports more than 80% of its Maize and Poultry and other products from the USA despite the embargo. Belize has the potential to supply high quality non-GMO products including: HACCAP certified poultry products, maize, beans, cornmeal, and juices. All the products in the table below are covered for duty free market access under the trade agreement except for maize.
Belize’s productive sector produces these products and in the recent past has expressed willingness to trade the following: milk and cheese; rice – wholly milled; dried, shelled kidney beans, black beans and other legumes; frozen concentrate orange juice; sauces, jams and jellies. However, with proper awareness and preparation, other trade opportunities are highly possible.