Investing in Cuba

Cuba’s Business Forum aims to bring Foreign Investment and MSMEs together

Minister Rodrigo Malmiera gives on press conference. Photo: Irene Pérez/ Cubadebate

Cuba’s Business Forum 2021 aims to bring foreign investors together with Cuba’s economic stakeholders.

The virtual forum replaces the Havana International Trade Fair for the second year in a row because of the pandemic. The goal is to promote communication and exchange between investors and the new micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment (MINCEX) is sponsoring the event with the participation of ProCuba, the Chamber of Commerce, GECOMEX
the Foreign Trade Business Group, the Mariel Special Development Zone. Trade and Investment Promotion Agencies are taking part. Representatives from the non-state and foreign companies interested in the MSMEs will be present.

At the press conference, Rodrigo Malmierca, the Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, stated that the inclusion of the MSMEs in the Forum “will result in the effort to promote foreign trade activity which includes the state entities and the non-state sector.”

A virtual fair will be held in conjunction with the business forum to showcase products and services.

Alejandro Gil Fernández, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Planning, will give a presentation on economic changes and the planned progress to 2030.

Malmierca also said that the new Portfolio of Business opportunities will be presented. “For the first time, it includes projects from all provinces and smaller investment projects.”

The new Portfolio will be updated frequently as deals are closed, projects are withdrawn, or new ones added.

Other events of the Cuba Business Forum 2021 include panels on the effects of the U.S. blockade, new opportunities in tourism, and the biopharmaceutical, food, and energy sectors. The audience will also be able to learn of new developments at the ZED Mariel Development Zone as well.

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Cubans living abroad are also welcome at the business forum to discuss business opportunities on the Island as the Minister recalled that “Law No. 118 on Foreign Investment does not establish any type of restriction on the origin of capital.”

Malmierca said that although Cubans living abroad can invest in Cuba, “this possibility has not materialized too much.” In fact, “very few have been established,” he said. Most Cubans living abroad have been interested in opening small businesses, “which were not really of interest to the Cuban side. There is also a policy in place that defines sector priorities.”

Most of the applications from Cuban non-residents are for small-scale businesses or restaurants or service establishments.

The Cubans are very interested in the arrival of foreign capital, including that of Cuban ex-pats. Malmierca said that’s the reason, “we are seeking to bring their interests closer to ours, and there are possibilities for local development.”

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