The Strategist

China hopes that the United States will completely lift the economic blockade of Cuba

09/14/2016 - 14:37

China hopes that the United States will completely cancel economic blockade of Cuba, said on Wednesday Wang Chao, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of China.

Day Donaldson,
Day Donaldson,
"We hope that the United States will completely eliminate the (economic) blockade of Cuba as soon as possible in response to expectations of the international community," - Wang Chao said at a special briefing dedicated to upcoming visit of Premier Li Keqiang to Cuba.

Earlier, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that Chinese Premier will participate in the UN General Assembly on 18 - 28, and then will pay a visit to Canada and Cuba. The Foreign Ministry did not specify exact dates of the visit.

Wang Chao said that visit of Premier Li Keqiang is an important part of bilateral high-level contacts. "We have great expectations for this visit. We hope that thanks to it, we can deepen our coordination and together find ways of further development of bilateral relations", - said the Chinese diplomat.

It is expected that the sides will sign a series of economic and trade agreements during the visit.

On Tuesday, the US once again extended the trade embargo against Cuba for a year - until 14 September 2017. 

In late 2014, The United States and Cuba announced commencement of work on a gradual normalization of relations. Since that time, the two countries have restored diplomatic relations to such an extent that Havana was even visited by US President Barack Obama. United States eased some sanctions against Cuba, although the trade embargo, imposed over half a century ago, remains in force.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez previously said that Cuba's loss due to the US trade embargo numbered $ 4.7 billion during the period from March 2015 to March of this year.

For the first three quarters of 2015, China's trade turnover with Cuba increased by 57% to $ 1.6 billion, according to Beijing. The increase is attributed to a sharp decline in trade a year earlier. In December, however, air carriers launched direct flights between Beijing and Havana, and Chinese IT companies are helping to create an internet infrastructure on the island. "China has influence in all directions, - says a former diplomat, economist at the University of California, Richard Feinberg. - As for Cubans, they are still paranoid about America. " 

China is already the second largest trade partner of Cuba. However, it is still lagging far behind the leader - Venezuela. Although number of joint ventures and foreign direct investment of China is relatively small, China is planning to build resort facilities of $ 460 million for Chinese tourists. Chinese investments can increase if the US mitigates sanctions against Cuba, says an expert on Cuba at the Academy of Social Sciences of China. Now, the sanctions are complicating regional sales of goods produced in Cuba by Chinese factories. In addition, Cuban restrictions on foreign investment are hindering employment and making money transfers to China more difficult, he said.