HAVANA, 27 June (EFE) Cuba’s deputy foreign trade minister explained here Thursday the opportunities available to foreign companies under the Communist-ruled island’s new investment law.
Ileana Nuñez Mordoche, who is heading a high-level Cuban delegation, arrived in Madrid as part of a tour of European capitals. In Madrid, she spoke to dozens of business leaders at the headquarters of the High Council of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Navigation of Spain.
Spain is one of Cuba’s main trading partners and a key source country for foreign direct investment, or FDI, Nuñez noted, pointing out that her country is looking to attract foreign capital as part of efforts to “update” its socialist economic model.
The goal of the new legislation, approved by Cuba’s National Assembly in March, is to reduce Cuban imports, promote exports and bolster industry through infrastructure build-outs and technology inflows, the deputy minister said. “We must change the energy matrix, with more space for renewables and biomass,” Nuñez said.
Cuba’s director general for foreign investment, Deborah Rivas, added that there is a “favorable climate” for FDI in Cuba and recalled that the island is a signatory to different trade-promotion and investment-protection treaties under the World Trade Organization and other entities. The new law allows foreign companies to form joint ventures with Cuban entities or create enterprises that are 100 percent foreign-owned.
It sharply reduces the profits tax for foreign investors from 35 percent to 15 percent and exempts them from paying it for the first eight years of business activity. The president of the High Council of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Navigation of Spain, Manuel Teruel, recalled that Spanish small- and medium-sized enterprises have a traditional presence in Cuba and said now is the time to facilitate the entry of large multinational firms.