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Cuba Business Forum Presents Updates to Foreign Investment, smaller projects and more Exports

Photo: Twitter Cuba MINCEX

Last Friday Prime Minister Manuel Marrero announced Cuba would update its foreign investment policy (FDI) during the Cuba-Italy Business Forum held in Havana.

This week’s Cuba Business Forum has revealed multiple changes to Cuba’s FDI policy, a new Portfolio of Investment Opportunities, an expanded Offer of Exportable Goods, and multiple projects for smaller investors.

This is the second Business Forum to take place online. The Forum replaced the annual international trade fair, the FIHAV (Havana International Trade Fair) because of limitations placed on international travel and public events during the Covid pandemic. The sessions end today.

Rodrigo Malmierca, Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, presented the new Portfolio of Opportunities for Investment and the Portfolio Offer of Exportable Goods.

Cuba’s new list contains over 300 products available for export. From rum and cigars, to fruits, vegetables, grains, seafood, coffee, pharmaceuticals, and services. Today, 74 export companies are linked to the prioritized sectors. The list also includes private stakeholders, cooperatives and hiring and training of professionals, as well as the organization of scientific events. Also a part of the Offers for export: renewable energy sources, travel agency services, group travel bookings, and tourist guide projects.

Yesterday’s sessions included a panel specifically on the business and investment opportunities available for Cubans living overseas.

Vivían Herrera, General Director of Foreign Trade, chaired the panel on Trade New Forms of Non-State Management. Ms. Herrera also discussed local development projects which will contribute to the nation’s economic development.

What’s New in Foreign Investment Policy?

These changes to Cuba’s FDI policies were recently approved by the Council of Ministers. The changes allow FDI to be directed to non-state management forms with legal personality.

  • There is an increase in the number of investment projects in the latest Portfolio. There are now 678 projects worth an estimated $12 billion US. The tourism, industry, biotechnology, mining, environmental impact, energy, and oil sectors contain new projects.
  • New financial policies for the domestic market.
  • Entrepreneurs will be able to open bank accounts in other countries.
  • Small and medium-sized private enterprises can link up with foreign capital in much the same way as cooperatives.
  • In a step towards greater development at the local level, Malmierca stated that this year’s Portfolio includes 60 projects sponsored by the municipalities to foster local development.

Yesterday’s presentations at the Cuba Business Forum included a presentation by Carlos F. de Cossio, General Director of the United States at MINREX. He explained how the U.S. Blockade hinders Cuba’s economic development.

Minister Malmierca said that over 40 countries already invest on the Island. Foreign investment plays a vital for the country’s economic development.

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