CUBA STANDARD — Cuba became the first Caribbean nation to be accepted into the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation of ASEAN.
The Southeast Asian bloc of nations, which includes Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, Myanmar, and Brunei, is currently presided by Vietnam.
During a signing ceremony in Hanoi for the accession of Cuba, Colombia and South Africa to the ASEAN cooperation agreement, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez suggested that Cuba and ASEAN could build a joint research and development center for biotech products in a technology park in one of the member states. He also suggested joint clinical studies of COVID candidate vaccines; Cuba says it will have four candidate vaccines by the end of this year.
Cuba already established bilateral biotechnology joint ventures in Vietnam and Malaysia.
Earlier this year, Chinese officials agreed to accelerate the establishment of a Cuban-Chinese joint venture at a $2 billion “medical pilot zone” near the city of Fangchenggang in South China. State holding BioCubaFarma and Guangxi Fukang Medical Investment and Management Co. Ltd. signed an agreement in September at the China-ASEAN Expo in Guangxi.
The agreement stipulates joint production at Fangchenggang, a port city near the Vietnamese border, of nine medicines for cardio-cerebral vascular disease, skin cancer, brain cancer and chronic hepatitis B, including Cuban products known as melangenina, heberferon, proctokinasa and a therapeutic vaccine for hepatitis B.
Potential markets would include ASEAN member nations.
“We want to build a cooperative platform to increase the public’s overall health. The Fangchenggang pilot zone, which interconnects with ASEAN countries by land and sea, offers us good opportunities,” said Ricardo de la C. Silva Rodríguez, who heads the Beijing office of BioCubaFarma, in November.