France and Cuba on Thursday (16 January) signed a major trade, economic and technological pact that will give France a leading role in Cuba's new Five-Year Development Plan.
CV Car arrives and Rodriguez greeted by Chirac and into building
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Background: France and Cuba on Thursday (16 January) signed a major trade, economic and technological pact that will give France a leading role in Cuba's new Five-Year Development Plan.
The agreement was signed in Paris by French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac and Cuba's Vice-Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs, Carlos Rafael Rodriguez.
M. Chirac said the pact signalled a new era of close co-operation between the two countries in which he expected that French capital and technological expertise would "move into Cuba in a big way".
Senor Rodriguez said that "Cuba has embarked on a very ambitious and vas Five-Year Development Plan in which France is expected to play a leading part."
The pact pledges France to help Cuban agricultural and industrial development. Major projects already under study include development of the chemical industry, production of heavy lorries, airport installations and the construction of food-canning factories.
The two Governments will establish a joint commission to plan, finance and implement such projects. A total capitalization of 3,000 million francs (300 million pounds sterling) has been mentioned in French business circles.
The French Secretary of State for External Trade, Norbert Segard, will head his country's delegation to the joint commission's first meeting, in Havana in the spring.
The pact comes at a time when Cuba is reaping the financial harvest of one of its best sugar crops on record at a time of world-wide soaring sugar prices. But no specific mention was made after the Paris meeting of special price concessions to France.