Cuba cancels Havana International Fair due to coronavirus

HAVANA, June 12th  The Havana International Fair (FIHAV), the largest and most important commercial exchange in Cuba whose 2020 edition was scheduled for October,will not be held this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the government announced this Thursday.

The fair has been officially suspended due to the “international epidemiological situation”, both the organizing committee and the vice-minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment of Cuba, Ana Teresita González, reported on the social network Twitter.

“If the situation allows, other events will be organized to promote trade and investment” in the Caribbean country, added the committee, which apologized for the inconvenience that the cancellation may generate.

The FIHAV 2020, which was scheduled between October 1 and 5 at the Expocuba fairgrounds, 25 kilometres southeast of Havana, is the largest event with which Cuba seeks each year to attract foreign investment and seek opportunities in the field of Commerce.

The 37th edition, which took place in November last year, brought together some 2,000 company representatives from more than 55 countries, as well as more than a dozen official delegations headed by ministers and high-ranking officials.

Spain is the most represented country in FIHAV every year. In 2019, it brought 110 companies from various sectors such as the agri-food industry, equipment and supplies for the hospitality industry, capital goods, construction, logistics and other services to the fair.

The suspension of the FIHAV comes at a delicate moment for the Cuban economy, already hit by the tightening of the US embargo. and the financial crisis in Venezuela – its main partner and supporter – which has exacerbated the shortage of foreign exchange and the deficit in the balance of payments.

Cuba needs to sustain its economy more than 2,000 million dollars a year in foreign investments directed to strategic sectors to generate exports and substitute imports, as recognized by the Government.

However, the coronavirus pandemic seems to have exacerbated the crisis, which is manifesting itself these days in the lack of availability of some basic products for the population.