Brazil sees enormous potential for joint industrial development, for example in health and drug equipment, for which Cuba stands out, Rousseff said at the inauguration, along with Cuban President Raul Castro, of the first phase of the container terminal in the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM), 45 kilometers west of Havana.
The ZEDM is the main attraction that Cuba provides for foreign investment and at the same time the current bet of the island for promoting its economic advancement, replacing imports, increasing exports, creating jobs and gaining access to modern technologies.
During the ceremony, attended by the heads of government from Bolivia, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica and Venezuela, and Brazilian and Cuban entrepreneurs, Rousseff expressed her great joy at visiting the island and highlighted the deep ties between the two nations.
She said that even subjected to unjust economic blockade by the United States, Cuba has one of the three largest trade volumes in the Caribbean, which will substantially increase when the ZEDM starts operations.
Brazil is pleased to partner with Cuba in the development of the first container terminal in the Caribbean, with the ability to integrate oceanic logistics chains and the capacity to accommodate Post-Panamax generation vessels, she stressed.
She explained that ZEDM works of will have an 18-meter depth and will have a minimum handling capacity of 824,000 containers per year, with full access and railways nearly concluded.
The president said that in the first phase her country involved with funding of $802 million USD in goods and services, and around 400 companies participated, while for the second part, Brazil will provide $290 million USD.
With 465.4 square kilometers, the first free trade industrial region in Cuba is designed to encourage foreign capital investment, technological innovation and industrial concentration for economic and social development.
She stated that several Brazilian companies have expressed strong interest in this area and are organizing a business summit on Cuba.
The president stressed that 2013 was a special year for the Brazil-Cuba alliance, with the implementation of a weekly Cubana Airline flight between the two countries, which will boost tourism and trade.
She also thanked the Cuban government and people for their tremendous support to the Brazilian health system through the sending of doctors, and the spirit of solidarity and cooperation.
Rousseff said that the celebration here of the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean (CELAC), on Jan. 28 and 29, shows the importance of Cuba in the process of Latin American and Caribbean integration.