Cuba grants new legal guarantees to foreign investors

HAVANA, Dec. 4th Cuba is looking for foreign investors for 678 projects, mainly in the food, biopharmaceutical, tourism and energy sectors, for a total amount of 12.5 billion dollars.According to a statement released this Wednesday by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment (MINCEX), the new Portfolio of Business Opportunities with Foreign Investment seeks to “attract foreign capital in a more proactive way, facilitating business, eliminating bureaucracy and promoting new opportunities.”

The head of MINCEX, Rodrigo Malmierca, explained that the initiative is key to the development of the country. Cuba is in a serious economic situation, with strong inflation — 60% official and 6.900% in the informal market — and an accumulated contraction of the gross domestic product (GDP) of 13% in two years.

The sector with the largest representation in the portfolio is food production, with 164 options, and also environmental impact projects, tourism, industry, pharmaceuticals, mining, oil and energy.

Referring to the energy sector, the head of MINCEX pointed out the additional incentives for the promotion of renewable energy sources, which will be able to have access to a special tax regime, with exemptions from the start of operations.

The initiative, with 175 more projects than the previous version, incorporates projects sponsored by local governments and lowers the minimum amount to facilitate access.

One of the novelties of this business portfolio, according to Malmierca, is the elimination of the prohibition to establish bank accounts abroad linked to these projects, which may be opened with authorization from the Central Bank of Cuba.

The participation of corporate banks, second-tier corporate banks, investment banks and non-banking financial institutions, which must contribute capital, technologies, new products and services, as well as access to international financial markets, have been approved as measures to stimulate investment in the financial sector.

(Oncuba/EFE)