The arrival of the Chinese President in Cuba represents another big step into the wider world for the Middle Kingdom as it seeks to gain influence and trading partners. It is a logical partnership, the world’s biggest communist state teaming up with the only one in the western hemisphere, and promising closer political and economic tries.
China is already Cuba’s number three trade partner, and this looks set to grow as a China hungry for raw materials looks at nickel, and well-educated Cubans look for Chinese capital. “The People’s Republic of China, with its economic, financial, and scientific potential, is an important friend, an important support for our international interests”, said Cuba’s Vice foreign Minister during the trip. The visit has already led to a rescheduling of two 1990’s loans on soft interest-free terms, and a deal to sell Cuba a million television sets to add to the regualr shipments of staples like rice and bicycles. When the Soviet Union collapsed it was China who did much to help Cuba stay afloat, opening its market to sugar and metals exports. This relationship, with 200 chinese businessmen on the Presidential trip, looks set to change up a gear.