Japanese trading houses are re-entering Cuba as the country's relations with the U.S. warm, preparing to supply infrastructure and other facilities when economic sanctions are eased further.
Mitsubishi Corp. established an office in Havana on Wednesday. It aims to supply Japanese medical devices and farm equipment, as well as to win orders to replace such aging facilities as power plants. Sales of liquefied natural gas will also be considered. Initial efforts will concentrate on projects receiving official development assistance.
Mitsui & Co. plans to open a Cuban office in September or later. It aims to export steel products and metal resources, and to snag railroad construction and power plant contracts. Marubeni will open an office as early as autumn.
Mitsubishi left Cuba in 1981 amid such headwinds as the faltering economy. Marubeni pulled out in 1995, and Mitsui in 2006. Yet the island hosts a population of more than 11 million, and its economy ranks in the middle of the pack for Latin America by size. The Japanese companies are heeding its call to invest, returning in anticipation of growth.