Import substitution plays a major role within the new direction of the Cuban economy. Cuba’s chemical industry has managed to save the country more than $7 million in 2020 and plans to increase by 15% this year, according to Lissette Alonso Morales, vice-president of the Chemical Industry Business Group (GEIQ).
GEIQ is a conglomerate of state-owned and mixed enterprises in the chemical sector which produces industrial and medicinal gases, chlorine-caustic soda and its derivatives, fertilizers, rubber, glass, paper, pesticides, and sulfuric acid.
Among the sector’s most important products are fertilizers for agriculture, chlorine, caustic soda, and hydrochloric acid. A new investment in the Sagua Electrochemical Plant which produces chlorine facilitated the recent opening of the plant in the city of Sagua de Tánamo.
Equally important has been the contribution of this industry to ensure the increase of basic products for the health sector and other Cuban entities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The joint venture OXICUBA is responsible for the supply of oxygen, nitrogen, argon, and other gas mixtures in a gaseous liquid state for the Island. These are used in solutions for cleaning hands and surfaces and other sanitization products in the battle against the persistent virus.
Another area in which the chemical industry has been able to replace imports is the increased production in the sanitary paper sector of a company located in the city of Cárdenas.
Chemical industry products contribute to other manufacturing processes, guaranteeing the productive chain necessary for the achievement in both the state and private sectors.
The food industry is another sector favored by the increase in chemical industry production. The application of nitrogen/CO2 has brought multiple advantages to this sector. Nitrogen storage, a protective gas, guarantees the prevention of oxidation and preservation of the quality of sensitive oils and fats. It also minimizes quality losses due to contact with air, preserves aromas and colors, prolongs shelf life, and reduces the presence of microbes.
It is to be expected that under the present conditions, the increased production of the chemical industry in the country will play a strong role in the Cuban economy.