Canada looks for better commercial ties with Cuba

Canada is home to one of the few international companies producing oil from Cuba.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Nov. 16, 2016 at 6:45 AM
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HAVANA, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Home to one of the few companies with ties to the Cuban energy sector, Canada's prime minister said from Havana he's looking for expanded commercial ties.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met in Havana with Cuban President Raul Castro. According to the prime minister's office, both sides discussed their deep historic ties.

"They also explored means of strengthening our bilateral ties through promoting opportunities and rights for all our citizens including through commercial, cultural and governance cooperation," the statement read.

Canadian economic ties with Cuba are not restricted in the same way as those for the United States and the Canadian government has been a vocal critic of U.S. policies on its former Cold War foe. Cuba is the fourth-largest export destination for Canadian goods in Latin America and most of that export is in wheat.

Canadian energy company Sherritt International is one of the very few foreign companies currently producing oil in Cuba. In its last quarterly report, the company said the recovery in crude oil prices helped support a positive revenue stream from operations in Cuba.

Cuban oil production for Sherritt was down year-on-year because of natural field declines, though it said it was expecting more drilling in the medium term.

Independent oil company MEO Australia said a number of the wells drilled near the coast of Cuba in so-called Block 9 have recovered oil.

The Cuban government in 2014 enacted legislation offering corporate tax credits to encourage foreign investments.

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