Cuba Offers Full Guarantees to Investors, High-ranking Official Says

The Government of Cuba gives full guarantee to investors who bring their capital to Cuba, even grants certifications and attestations to offer them security and trust, a senior Cuban official said Wednesday.

Michel Bernal, Commercial Director of the Cuban Ministry of Tourism, who participates in his country's delegation to the tourism summit in Cancun, chaired by Minister Manuel Marrero, explained to the local press details on the issue.

'We are working to accelerate the opening procedures, providing facilities so that they can easily and quickly open their businesses, place their money and begin to recover their investments as soon as possible,' Bernal indicated.

He reiterates that the national legislation and the words of President Miguel Diaz-Canel and Minister Marrero have made it clear that there is total openness to foreign capital, interested in taking its projects to Cuba.

Bernal reminded that Cuba and Mexico are linked by a long history of respect and solidarity, which is why this friendship and work between both nations should be strengthened, also in the area of tourism.

The Cancun Sustainable Tourism Summit ends Wednesday and among the many issues discussed was that of cooperation and multi-destination projects, as well as that related to the sargasso that affects the coastline of Quintana Roo and several Caribbean countries.

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Cuba Supports Foreign Entrepreneurs Ahead of Aggressive US Escalation

Official records revealed on Wednesday that foreign entrepreneurs can count on all Cuban government support to counteract any attempt at harming their businesses following the activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act.

Antonio Carricarte, Vice Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment stated so during a work meeting with representatives of branches of foreign companies in the island and the diplomatic corps accredited in this capital.

He added that recently, the US government has given another twist to its anti-Cuban policy by enabling title III of the Helms-Burton Act.

He set out that despite the adverse outlook, Cuba works with determination to facilitate trade relations abroad and open up new possibilities for foreign investment.

If the US blockade against Cuba would not exist, and it already accumulates a cost higher than 134 billion dollars calculated at current prices, the social and commercial successes achieved by Cuba would have been higher, Carricarte underscored.

On the other hand, the director general of the US Directorate of the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Carlos Fernandez de Cossio, assured that the new aggressive escalation against the island harms both State and non-State businesses.

The sudden interruption of traveling from the United States to Cuba, specifically the ban on cruise ships transporting visitors to this destination, means a strong blow to such industry, he stressed.

At the meeting, held in the distinguished National Hotel of this capital, commercial representatives of Caribbean, European and Asian companies condemned the US hostility and restated their intention to go up trade links with Cuba.

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Cuba intends to expand facilities for foreign trade

The Single Window of Foreign Trade (VUCE by its Spanish acronym) will provide information and will allow managing, through electronic means, the required approvals for the entry and exit of the products.

According to Vivian Herrera, an official in the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, the implementation of VUCE will go through several phases due to its complexity and should be fully operational by the end of 2019.

She added that the establishment of the window responds to the commitment to trade facilitation contracted by the Cuban government before the World Trade Organization (WTO) and has the technical assistance of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD).

This will mean an important step forward, as until now only the electronic single window systems at the General Customs Office and the one at the Mariel Special Development Zone were operating, Herrera said.

Streamlining foreign trade operations is essential for Cuba given its economy, with a high dependence on external links, which includes the acquisition of essential items such as fuel and food.

According to the Cuban Chamber of Commerce, more than 3,000 foreign companies participate in these transactions, and the purpose is to continue diversifying the market for exports and imports.

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Foreign Investment Grew in Cuba in 2018

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) grew in 2018, Foreign Trade and Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca said, adding 40 new business deals were struck amounting to 1.5 billion dollars.

Of those contracts, 35 are already being executed, the official pointed out at the Round Table TV news hour last night.

Malmierca recalled that since 2013 Cuba open business to FDI under a new policy on foreign capital with a sectorial approach.

The Minister mentioned the flow of FDI has been hindered by Washington's hardened economic and financial hostility. He added the US blockade not only damage Cuban companies, but enterprises from around the world as well.

He also spoke of problems resulting from the use of a double currency and liquidity shortage, plus 'subjective hurdles' such as delays and lack of trained staff. However, he expressed hopes these issues can be solved gradually.

Cuba needs 2 billion dollar FDI a year to boost the economy and put it on solid manner, but it has been unable to reach that figure so far, he admitted.

For her part, the Ministry's investment manager, Deborah Rivas, told the Round Table that since 2014 the number of business opportunities in the country's investment portfolio has been growing. In 2014, Cuba offered foreign investors 246 business projects and this year, 525, she added.

Some of those projects are being executed in tourism, such as hotel building and other infrastructure works, Construction Minister Rene Mesa said.

He highlighted there are 6,000 builders currently working in Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM, in Spanish), where they have completed 217,5 kilometers of road, 103 kilometers of railroad, 132 kilometers of aqueducts and 384,7 kilometers of power grid.

Invited to the Round Table, ZEDM's general manager Ana Teresa Igarza said this special business project in the western province of Artemisa has taken a big economic step.

She mentioned 300 million dollar investment was required to complete 200 hectares of infrastructure this year, including the completion in March 2018 of a multimodal terminal, which will be connected to the railway network.

The ZEDM has an employment potential of 10,000 people on diverse sectors; 43 business contracts have been struck so far, amounting to 474 million dollars of FDI, Igarza outlined.

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Council of Ministers discusses foreign investment and economic performance

Havana, June 21 (RHC)-- Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel Bermudez has stressed the need to pay greater attention to foreign investment and highlighted how important it can be for the development of Cuba.

“We have to be creative and take risks, without undermining our sovereignty”, he told a meeting of the Council of Ministers recently held at the seat of the island´s Government, the Revolution Palace.

According to Granma newspaper, the encounter adopted several measures, among them the celebration of monthly follow-up contacts with the heads of concerned state institutions to check the status of exports, of foreign investment businesses and the management and execution of external credits.

Besides the analysis of foreign investment, the Council of Ministers examined the performance of the national economy during the first semester, the settlement of the 2017 State Budget, fiscal discipline, and access to external credits for investments.

During the event it was disclosed that the performance of the national economy was acceptable, despite the insufficient availability of resources, the damage caused on the sugar harvest by weather events, the lack of fulfillment of export commitments, all being topped by the reinforcement of the US economic blockade and its extraterritorial effects.

The sectors that fared best were those associated to construction, trade, and tourism.

Edited by Jorge Ruiz Miyares
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Chinese entrepreneurs see huge potential in Cuban market

Entrepreneurs from east China's Zhejiang Province believe Cuba's economic market shows great potential and it could be a gateway for expansion into Latin America, a continent increasingly connected to Beijing.

At the first-ever Cuba-Zhejiang business forum held in Havana, which runs until Tuesday, 32 Zhejiang-based companies searched for business opportunities.

"We are here to explore the Cuban market in order to introduce our products and make our contribution to Cuba's electricity sector and its energy saving efforts," said Nan Ronghe, general manager of Yueqing Blue Sky Hi-Tech Co. (Lintin), a manufacturer of smart electricity meters.

Nan said that the two-day meeting allowed them to understand Cuba's needs and offer the country the chance to establish partnerships with Chinese companies.

Huang Huiqi, business manager of Huayi Electric (Heag), a company dedicated to renewable energy, said that Cuba is seen as a "brother country" and that his company wants to play a role in Cuba's development.

"Cuba's potential in this sector is huge and we can offer support for wind energy with efficient generators. We would really like to join the Cuban market," said Huang.

Heag, a market leader in China, already has presence in Latin America with ties to Chile. The company considers Cuba as a further connection with Latin America.

"Our company represents a new trend in the sector. Cuba will develop its renewable and clean energy sector in the future and that is why we are here," he said.

Meanwhile, Wu Huisheng, general manager of Golden Bridge Optical, a manufacturer with 20 years' experience in the eyewear industry in Zhejiang, believes the forum offers the opportunity to enter not only the Cuban market, but also the rest of the continent.

"Cuba hopes to open (its markets) as China has done, and we see this business forum as an opportunity. Tourism is very well developed and we believe that our products will have a great advantage here," he said.

Promoted by the Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and the Chamber of Commerce of Cuba (CCC), the forum is intended to give Chinese companies an understanding of Cuba's legal regulations and investment possibilities.

Cuba has a broad portfolio of opportunities with more than 450 projects amounting to 10.7 billion U.S. dollars.

Ruben Ramos, vice president of the Cuban Chamber of Commerce, told Xinhua that ongoing exchanges with Chinese businessmen will contribute to the economic development of the Caribbean nation.

"The Chinese market offers great opportunities for Cuba due to its ongoing growth, as well as its need to import products for the development of its economy," he said.

Ramos said Cuba currently exports nickel, sugar, cigars and biotechnological products to China and that new possibilities are emerging.

"We have to continue opening up our export opportunities. Our priority is to promote our economy in order to continue its development," he said.

In order to seek new possibilities and market opportunities for Cuba's exports, Ramos will participate in the China International Import Expo in Shanghai later this year.

The forum preceded the signing of a memorandum of understanding aimed at strengthening economic relations, signed by Wu Guiying, president of the Zhejiang Provincial Committee of CCPIT, and Ramos on Monday.

According to the document, both parties agreed on "the cooperation of their respective organizations in the areas of business development, bilateral exchange and information, investments and commercial activities to benefit both sides."

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Cuba opens Int'l convention to attract foreign investment

The Cuban government opened on Monday the 3rd Edition of International Convention and Exhibition of Cuban Industry (CubaIndustria 2018), seeking to attract foreign investors to revitalize the country's economy.

The Minister of Industry, Salvador Pardo, highlighted that the meeting is being attended by representatives from around 30 countries, including China, Russia, Spain, Germany and Italy.

Pardo stressed that the event is aimed at promoting Cuba's official portfolio of investment and to attract foreign capital and entrepreneurs, in order to establish joint ventures and develop strategic economic sectors.

With the participation of a Chinese business delegation, the official confirmed the "excellent" state of bilateral ties between Havana and Beijing.

Pardo said Cuba and China have signed relevant cooperation agreements in the spheres of renewable energy and transportation, among other important areas.

CubaIndustria 2018 includes a business forum at which Cuban officials will provide insights on the advantages of investing at the island's first Special Economic Development Zone, located at the megaport of Mariel, 50 kilometers west of Havana.

The Mariel Special Economic Development Zone is the largest infrastructure project executed by the Cuban government in the last decade and is expected to become the nation's main gateway for foreign trade.

Cuba needs over 2.5 billion U.S. dollars in foreign investments annually to achieve sustainable development, according to figures released by the Minister of Foreign Investment and Trade, Rodrigo Malmierca.

The arrival of foreign entrepreneurs is not only important due to fresh injection of capital into Cuba but also bringing in modern know-how and high technology that the country needs to update its economic model.

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Cuban government eyes foreign investment for waterpark and theme park projects

Cuba’s government has announced plans to boost its tourism infrastructure by courting foreign investment for proposed theme and waterparks.

Reinaldo Daniel Alonso, director of Development, Investment and Business for the island nation’s Ministry of Tourism, has said up to 140 joint venture projects could be included in a portfolio set to be unveiled in November at the Havana International Fair – the largest annual multi-sector trade fair in Cuba.

According to the minister, while the island’s major goal is to increase its hotel capacity to accommodate a surge in tourism related to improving US relations, proposed projects include a number of non-hotel investments, with waterparks and theme parks at the top of the wish list, while golf courses and real estate are also on the agenda.

Cuba’s tourism development plan is anchored by the construction of 224 new hotels in addition to the expansion of 32 existing ones by the end of 2030. This would boost the number of available rooms in the country from 67,000 to 103,000.

Cuba’s thawing relationship with the US paid dividends in 2016, with the island nation’s visitor numbers hitting record levels last year.

For 2016, Cuba welcomed four million tourists, up 13 per cent over the previous year’s figures, which had already leapt 36 per cent over a five-month period following a landmark agreement with the US in 2015.

For 2017, the tourism ministry is predicting more than 4.1 million visitors, boosted by a significant increase in access to international flights, with several US carriers flying to the country daily and European operators including Virgin Atlantic also launching weekly flights.

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