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Commonwealth and Adorgraf, the First Packaging New Relations
Photo: Claudio Pelaez Sordo
Photo: Claudio Pelaez Sordo

Adorgraf is a Cuban private enterprise devoted to the production of containers, which it personalizes with the brand of the company that requests them. With a wide-ranging portfolio of products, it has many clients, both from the state-run as well as the private sector. As they underline in their slogan (“the first packaging new relations”), they are a tailor-made complement for establishing diverse businesses.
This small Cuban business was invited to the United States last year to participate, together with another three Cuban private enterprises, in an important business event. The contacts and exchanges with a counterpart company started coming to fruition there: it is Commonwealth, a New York corporation of great prestige that has been working for more than 50 years with important companies from different parts of the world. It offers a product of excellent quality. The Lacoste and Valentino brands, to cite just two examples, place their trust in their work.
During the last edition of the Havana International Trade Fair, Adorgraf and Commonwealth shared a stand in the U.S. pavilion, promoting the products of both companies and setting the coordinates of the new trade relations and strategies that will soon be established.
Rubén Valladares is the owner of this family business, with the valuable collaboration of his wife Maida. “This company is based in New York and went to Miami where we met. We had a defining meeting that would mark the future of both businesses because we really feel very identified. We are both family businesses and began in a similar way. We have been working for five years and they for much longer. Afterwards we had the opportunity to speak of social responsibility, which also joins us, since we both have community and sociocultural projects like interest circles with primary school children and orphans, among others. After this meeting we had a second one, this time they traveled to Cuba and got firsthand information about our business, our installations and the rest of the team. An interesting aspect is that it belongs to Engage Cuba, and that desire and that action for the elimination of the more than 50-year economic blockade also unites us, because we both share that desire,” said the Cuban entrepreneur.

Photo: Claudio Pelaez Sordo
Photo: Claudio Pelaez Sordo

Common aspirations
“The possibilities are unlimited since the needs our country has in terms of containers are immense and they, with their experience and possibilities, could help us cover that demand or a great deal of the shortages not covered in Cuba for many years. Its products are of extreme quality and have a very important characteristic: they are ecological and biodegradable. The nylon bags take 400 years to naturally degrade and these do so in a natural way in a period of 4 to 6 months. Another of our contact points is the wish to not attack the environment. Both businesses signed a letter or memorandum where we present the real possibilities we have and the long-term perspectives that a factory could have, among other plans. From the simplest to something of more importance as an installation in the port of Mariel,” added Valladares, who returned a few days ago from the United States with part of his team.
Meanwhile, Michael Maisel, vice president of international sales, co-owner together with his father of the U.S. entity, recognizes the importance of the containers with publicity and sees in Cuba favorable conditions to develop his corporation due to the great need to offer the complete service that these containers propose. “I see great possibilities in the state-run as well as the private sector, but what’s most important is that the embargo be lifted to make everything easier between both nations, so geographically close and with so many possibilities and perspectives in common,” he concluded.
This small Cuban venture and the U.S. corporation have merged to do business in an unprecedented link since 1959; an unthinkable discourse barely some months ago. However, although it now is apparently easier, this coalition functions like a hope. The legislation in force in the United States does not allow Commonwealth to pay in dollars for purchasing from Adorgraf but, on the Cuban side, it prevents Valladares from privately exporting or importing. But both pioneers in the subject prefer to see this scenario as something ready to change and that this association will be the first among many.