Raul Castro meets Canadian PM, agreeing to deepen bilateral economic cooperation

Cuba and Canada have agreed to deepen bilateral economic cooperation and increase Ottawa’s investment and joint development projects in the Caribbean nation.

During a meeting between Cuban President Raul Castro and visiting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday night, both leaders reiterated their will to strengthen political relations as well as economic, financial, investment and tourism cooperation between Canada and Cuba, the Cuban government said in a press release.

Castro highlighted the historical links with Ottawa particularly when the prime minister’s late father, Pierre Trudeau, governed Canada and remembered his close friendship with former Cuban President Fidel Castro, it said.

Trudeau will most likely meet with Fidel Castro on Wednesday. The last time they saw each other was in 2000.

“The friendship between your family and mine is long and deep, but it’s nothing compared to the true friendship between all Canadians and all Cubans and I look forward to continuing to build on that,” Trudeau said.

His visit aims to open up trade opportunities for Canadian companies which want to cash in on the Cuban government’s decision to expand foreign investment up to 2 billion U.S. dollars per year.

More than 1 million Canadian tourists visit the island each year, making it the largest and most stable market for this Caribbean nation.

After Cuba, Trudeau will pay a state visit to Argentina before travelling to Peru to participate in the 2016 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Informal Leaders’ meeting.