HAVANA, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Monday inaugurated the 36th Havana International Fair (FIHAV 2018), which is considered as the island's leading venue for doing business.
The Cuban head of state highlighted the global interest in doing business with Cuba, despite the long-running U.S. trade embargo which Cubans refer to as a blockade.
"Today we opened #FIHAV2018 ... The international interest in trading with Cuba is ratified despite the blockade," Diaz-Canel tweeted.
During the opening ceremony, Cuba's Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca stressed the growing interest among foreign companies in establishing business ties with the island.
More than 3,000 exhibitors from 65 countries are participating in the fair, which covers an area of 24,000 square meters, said Malmierca.
The minister, who is also president of FIHAV's organizing committee, pointed out the strong presence of the island's top business partners such as Venezuela, China and Russia, with the most represented country being Spain.
Malmierca praised the participation of U.S. companies in this year's fair and hailed a recent joint venture with a U.S. firm to manufacture anti-cancer drugs in Cuba's Mariel Special Development Zone.
The Cuban government supports business ties with U.S. companies based on mutual benefit, he added.
One of the most important events in the program is the third Investment Forum, which aims to attract foreign industries to Mariel, about 40 km west of Havana, and to present Cuba's updated portfolio of investment projects to potential foreign investors.
This year's fair includes various events to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the founding of Havana.
FIHAV was first held in 1983 as a way to attract capital, technical know-how and modern technologies which Cuba needs for its economic development.