Minister of State Kent Concludes Successful Visit to Cuba

(No. 349 - November 17, 2009 - 5 p.m. EST) The Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas), today concluded a three-day visit to Cuba, where he discussed trade and other issues with Cuban officials.

“Canada and Cuba have a broad, comprehensive relationship that includes trade, investment and tourism, as well as development assistance and academic exchanges,” said Minister of State Kent. “Our government has made trade across the Americas a priority, and we are seeing tremendous potential for growth in Canadian exports to Cuba and across the hemisphere.”

While in Havana, Minister of State Kent met with several ministers and senior government officials, including Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodríguez, Trade and Foreign Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz and Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Dagoberto Rodríguez.

“This trip provided an opportunity to discuss important aspects of our relationship with Cuba, including trade and our views on human rights,” said Minister of State Kent.

Cuba is Canada’s largest market in the Caribbean and Central America—with exports increasing 36.3 percent from 2007 to 2008—and fourth-largest merchandise export market in Latin America. Bilateral trade in 2008 totalled nearly $1.7 billion.

During his visit, the Minister of State also met with the Archbishop of Havana, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, visited the Canadian Studies Centre at the University of Havana, and participated in a round-table discussion with representatives of civil society. He also met with representatives of Canadian businesses operating in Cuba, as well as representatives of Cuba’s Jewish community.

Prior to his arrival in Cuba, Minister of State Kent made a brief working visit to the Turks and Caicos Islands, meeting with the Islands’ Chief Executive, Mark Capes, with members of the Canadian business community, and with representatives of the Advisory Council and Consultative Forum.

For more information on Canada-Cuba bilateral relations, please consult Canada - Cuba Relations and Cuba.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Eleanor Johnston
Senior Special Assistant (Communications)
Office of the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)
613-947-8981

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874