China–Cuba relations

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Sino-Cuban relations
Map indicating locations of  Cuba  and  China



Cuban–Chinese relations are the interstate relations between the People's Republic of China and Republic of Cuba, which are both communist states. The origins of the relations began when the Qing dynasty established a consulate in Havana while Cuba was a still a colony of Spain in 1879. In 1902, the Qing recognized the independence of the Republic of Cuba from the United States (which had taken it from Spain in 1898).

The relations are based on trade, credits, and investments which have increased significantly since the 1990s. China is Cuba’s second largest trading partner after Venezuela. At a ceremonial trade gathering in Havana in early 2006, China’s ambassador to Cuba said “Our government has a firm position to develop trade co-operation between our countries. The policy, the orientation, has been determined. What’s left is the work to complete our plans.”[1] Cuba and China are both ruled by a communist party, however, they were on different sides during the Cold War, with Cuba being an ally of the Soviet Union while China opposed it since it had different views on communism.

China has bailed-out Cuba with loans of billions of dollars, and as a result has access to much of their oil in the Gulf of Mexico.[2][dead link]


Bilateral trade between China and Cuba in 2005 totaled US$777 million, of which US$560 million were Chinese exports to Cuba.[3] Bilateral trade between China and Cuba in 2014 totaled US$1.6 billion. China is sending a growing amount of durable goods to Cuba. Chinese goods have become the primary tools both in the planned revitalization of Cuban transport infrastructure and in the “Energy Revolution” of 2006 to provide electricity to the Cuban population. Some large-scale transactions include:


As of mid-2006, Cuba had purchased 100 locomotives from China for US$130 million.[4][5]

As of early 2006, Cuba had signed a contract for 1,000 Chinese buses for urban and inter-provincial transportation.[6]


The Cuban government is replacing older appliances with newer, more energy-efficient models, including (as of early 2006) 30,000 Chinese refrigerators.[7]



As of 2004, China had agreed to planning to invest US$500 million in the completion and operation of Las Camariocas, an unfinished processing facility from the Soviet era. Under the agreement, Cubaníquel, the state-run nickel producer, owns 51 percent and Chinese-government owned Minmetals Corporation owns 49 percent. Financing for the project is from the China Development Bank, with Sinosure, the Chinese Export and Credit Insurance Corporation, providing guarantees.[8]


SINOPEC, the Chinese state oil company, has an agreement with state-owned CUPET (Cuba Petroleum) to develop oil resources. As of mid-2008, SINOPEC had done some seismic testing for oil resources on the island of Cuba, but no drilling.[9] The company also has a contract for joint production in one of Cuba's offshore areas of high potential yield, off the coast of Pinar del Río,[10] but had done no off-shore drilling as of mid-2008.[9]

In November 2005, PetroChina Great Wall Drilling Co., Ltd. and CUPET held a ceremony for the signing of two drilling service contracts, to provide di;[11] Great Wall Drilling has provided drilling rigs for oil exploration on Cuba's north coast.


In December 2005, the two countries signed an agreement to develop biotech joint ventures within the next three to five years.[12] Two manufacturing plants using Cuban technology and processes, were operating in China as of early 2006.[13]

Political and military relations[edit]

In the late 1990s, China provided the Cuban government with equipment to block signals from Radio Martí.[14]

Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Cuba in November 2004.[15]

Chinese personnel have been operating two intelligence signal stations in Cuba since early 1999.[16]

Other areas of cooperation[edit]

  • Scientific and technical exchange and innovation in the industrial and agriculture sectors[17]
  • Cultural exchanges[18]
  • Medical, education and training exchanges[19]
  • Energy and transport infrastructure

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marc Frank, "Trade With China Primes Cuba’s Engine for Change", The Financial Times, 29 March 2006
  2. ^ "Cuba belatedly opens-up for trade after sanctions are lifted". Retrieved 2017-03-25. 
  3. ^ “Trade with China helps Cuba to move up a gear,” Financial Times, March 8, 2006
  4. ^ Fidel Castro Public Address, May 1, 2006, cited in "China Cuba ties report from Cuba Transition Project", Havana Journal, June 2, 2006
  5. ^ “12 Chinese locomotives arrive in Cuba,” People’s Daily, January 10, 2006
  6. ^ “Cuba to buy more vehicles from China,” Granma Internacional, February 17, 2006
  7. ^ “Entrega empresa china primer lote de refrigeradores para Cuba,” Granma Internacional, March 15, 2006
  8. ^ “China edges out Western investors in Cuba nickel,” Reuters, November 23, 2004
  9. ^ a b Erika Bolstad and Kevin G. Hall, "GOP claim about Chinese oil drilling off Cuba is untrue", McClatchy Newspapers, June 11, 2008
  10. ^ “Firman Cuba y China contrato para producción compartida de petróleo,” Granma Internacional, January 31, 2005
  11. ^ "PetroChina Great Wall Drilling Co. wins contracts in Cuba", China Chemical Reporter, November 26, 2005
  12. ^ “Pacto biotecnológico de Cuba y China,” Office of Cuba Broadcasting, December 29, 2005, cited in "China Cuba ties report from Cuba Transition Project", Havana Journal, June 2, 2006
  13. ^ "Cuban and Chinese Biotech have found pathways of mutual benefits" Archived 2008-07-24 at the Wayback Machine., press release, Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Havana, Cuba, January 20, 2006, retrieved June 13, 2008
  14. ^ “Those Men in Havana Are Now Chinese,” Wall Street Journal, July 30, 1999
  15. ^ “China’s Hu boosts Cuba ties in first visit,” Reuters, November 22, 2004
  16. ^ "China's electronic spy bases in Cuba", China Reform Monitor, No. 487, March 3, 2003, American Foreign Policy Council
  17. ^ "China and Cuba to Advance Cooperation in Agriculture | Scoop News". Retrieved 2016-10-01. 
  18. ^ "China in Cuba Cultural Exchange". Havana 2013-06-22. Retrieved 2016-10-01. 
  19. ^ "Chinese doctors among 10,500 graduating in Cuba - Xinhua |". 2013-06-28. Retrieved 2016-10-01. 

External links[edit]