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Economic Development

Cuba Expands Import/Export Activities

The Special Development Zone at Mariel (ZEDM) port.

Just two and a half months after Cuba implemented its economic strategy for dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, its import/export entities have received more than 1,000 business solicitations. More than 40 contracts have been signed, and the first concrete import/export actions are already underway. The activity includes not just government entities but private ones as well, doing business through Cuba’s state-owned export companies.

Private farmers from the “La Esperanza” cooperative have already begun exporting avocadoes and Persian limes to Spain, through the Selectas Frutas export company. Other contracts have been signed or are in advanced negotiation, including products like charcoal, fresh and canned fruits and vegetables, natural chemicals, ecologically produced wood, honey-based soap, IT services and software, among others.

Another interesting export transaction is that of a Spanish company granted the contract to remodel the Hotel Oasis in Varadero. Since the Spanish company is currently unable to send anyone to Cuba, the services of a private Cuban cooperative were contracted to complete the work, thereby classifying the services as exported.

As for imports, 35 trade agreements have been signed and another 159 are in the process of being reviewed, focused mainly on the acquisition of raw materials such as pesticides, fertilizers, chemicals, automotive spare parts, paints and graphic supplies.

In Cuba, there is no prohibition against citizens or naturalized residents on the withdrawal of money from their bank accounts in freely convertible currency, dependent on the availability of a particular currency in the bank branches at the time of the operation.

Private entities can receive income through bank transfers or other accounts in freely convertible currency operating in Cuban banks as long as the funds come from legally authorized commercial activity and services, transfers from Fincimex for remittances and through cash deposits.

In the case of commercial activities destined for export, persons are granted the possibility of opening a bank account without an initial deposit, at least during the first six months, in order to facilitate their operations.

The VUCE portal is a platform designed to facilitate trade by clarifying procedures required to carry out foreign trade activities with Cuba. Visit the VUCE website here.

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