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Related Link: "Canada at Havana Trade Fair" (source: AIN)
November 8, 2002 (9:40 a.m. EST) No. 141
PARADIS PROMOTES TRADE, INVESTMENT
Denis Paradis, Secretary of State for Latin America, Africa and La Francophonie, returned to Canada yesterday from Cuba, following meetings that touched on the full range of commercial, political, development cooperation and cultural relations between Canada and Cuba.
Inaugurating the Canadian pavilion at the 20th Havana International Trade Fair, Mr. Paradis said, "Our theme this year is Quality, Loyalty and Commitment. Canada produces and exports high-quality products to Cuba. For more than 40 years, without interruption, we have been a trading partner. Canadian companies are committed to Cuba and have become Cuba's second-largest source of foreign investment. Small and medium-sized Canadian companies have an especially important role to play in this relationship."
The Secretary of State promoted Canadian culture and values throughout his stay, opening a photo exhibit celebrating Pierre Elliott Trudeau and meeting with students and faculty at the University of Havana. In meetings with representatives of the National Assembly and the Cuban government, he proposed reinvigorating parliamentary exchanges. "We should be encouraging as wide a dialogue as possible, comparing perspectives and values. The large numbers of Canadians that visit Cuba every year are testament to the affection between our two peoples and the importance of understanding each other better," he said.
Among the senior government officials Mr. Paradis met with during his visit were Vice-President Carlos Lage, the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade, Basic Industries, Foreign Investment and Cooperation, and Government, as well as the President of the National Assembly, Ricardo Alarcón.
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