After the US, Australia is following the lead to explore business opportunities in Cuba. Australia’s first trade mission to Cuba will be led by trade envoy Andrew Robb. He will be leaving for Havana on Wednesday.
According to a News Corp report, the delegation will target the mining, energy, agriculture, and tourism sectors in Cuba. The trade delegation will hold talks with Cuban government officials and businesses.
Australia does not have an embassy in Cuba, but in 2008, Cuba opened its embassy in Canberra. Australian industries such as mining and energy, technology, agriculture, tourism, and medical services are expected to benefit from the trade ties with Cuba.
“Australia is an early mover when it comes to engaging new markets in which to do business,” Robb said in a statement. Many mining and agricultural companies have confirmed participation in the first Aussie trade mission to Cuba.
The Australia-Cuba trade was a meagre AU$14.1 million (US$10.20 million) in 2015. That was less than one percent of Australia’s total trade, reports Reuters.
“Several countries are looking at Cuba in order to leverage new opportunities,” Robb’s statement added. He also highlighted the opportunities in Cuba’s tourism and medical service sectors. “In this regard Australia is an early mover.”
However, Robb’s office did not disclose the names of companies joining the trade mission. Robb also said the recently formed Australia-Cuba Business Council would be helpful for Australian companies in gaining a foothold in the Cuban market.
He added that the reform process in Cuba had brought positive changes in its foreign investment laws. The debt agreement by the Paris Club Group of Creditors also made access to international finance easier, reports The Australian Financial Review.
Australia’s trade mission comes in the wake of normalisation of ties between the United States and Cuba. The two countries restored its diplomatic ties after a gap of 54 years. In March, President Barack Obama will be visiting Cuba. He will be the first US president to visit Cuba since 1928.