(Presidentialwire.com)- After a meeting between the leaders of Cuba and China in Peking, China has promised to restructure Cuba’s debt and grant new trade and investment credits to the struggling Caribbean island nation. This came after the leaders of the two communist countries met.
Alejandro Gil, the Minister of the Cuban Economy, stated that the latter had also provided $100 million to help the country cope with shortages of essential products and an energy problem made worse by Hurricane Ian, ravaging the western Pinar del Rio province in late September.
Gil made these comments during an interview with official media while they traveled with President Miguel Diaz-Canel during his trip back to Cuba following a trip to Algeria, Russia, Turkey, and China. The interview took place over the weekend.
According to analysts and diplomats, the failure of Cuba to meet restructured debt payments has caused a slowdown in Chinese trade and investment in recent years. This situation has been worsened by tighter sanctions imposed by the United States, the pandemic, and economic inefficiencies within China itself.
Gil stated, “We are going to create formulas for the ordering and restructuring of debts mutually agreeable to all parties involved.”
Although there are no official estimates available, analysts place the size of the debt in the billions of dollars range.
The most recently stated amount of Cuba’s foreign debt was $19.6 billion in 2019.
According to the Cuban government, China is Cuba’s most important commercial partner after Venezuela, even though trade between the two countries has decreased from more than $2 billion in 2017 to $1.3 billion last year.
Several investment projects of various kinds have also come to a standstill.
Gil reported that China had committed to finishing a number of projects, including a floating dock, wind power, and solar energy, as soon as possible.
After returning from talks in Beijing, President Diaz-Canel stated to the country’s official media that the issue of Cuba’s mounting debt was at the top of his agenda with President Xi Jinping, who expressed sympathy for the challenges that Cuba was facing.
According to the president of Cuba, his counterpart in China has emphasized that “a solution must be found to all of Cuba’s difficulties, independent of the debt, and that this cannot be what hinders development.”