Malmierca says new opportunities coming for smaller foreign investors

Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca, has said that Cuba is looking at new opportunities for smaller foreign investors in relation to manufacturing for the domestic economy and export. Such opportunities could involve either the state or non-state sector, Malmierca explained.

Speaking on Cuban television, he outlined the new areas under consideration which, he said, would broaden the country’sinvestment offering, ease some bureaucratic requirements, and see new measures introduced aimed at improving the country’sexports.

On the subject of foreign investment, Malmierca said that adjustments to the present rules will be essential if the country is to develop its export potential and undertake import substitution. He said that Mincex, his ministry, was studying a group of fiscal and other incentives that could improve levels of foreign investment in the country. These may, he said, involve making the social objectives required of foreign investors more flexible, and enable linkages with the rest of the Cuban economy “including the non-state sector”. In language apparently aimed at encouraging Cubans outside the country to invest, he noted that there was no limit on the size of investment Cubans living overseas could make.

Malmierca also spoke about a significant change in approach in relation to the size of investment which Cuba, in future, would be interested in. Noting that traditionally Cuba had worked on foreign investment projects with large companies, he said, “we think that we must also give space to projects with small companies where they can (help) solve problems of the local and provincial economy”.

He also said that because of present circumstances, alternative approaches involving Cuban consulates abroad will be introduced to assist investors unable to travel to Cuba to negotiate or legally establish a business, so as to make the processes related to foreign investment more flexible.

More generally, he said that the immediate priority would be to the strengthen Cuba’s economy in preparation for the second stage of recovery, to “allow us to face a world scenario of prolonged economic crisis”.

Reiterating earlier remarks by Cuba’s President (Cuba Briefing 15 June, 2020), he spoke about the need to “eliminate obstacles that hinder the liberation of productive forces”, placing emphasis on the promotion of the export of goods and services, and import substitution.

He said that new economic incentives and facilities to encourage exports by state and non-state entities will be created for “as long as the problems arising from the dual currency and exchange rates persist”. This will involve, in part, encouraging cooperatives and self-employed workers to export through specialised state- owned companies, Malmierca said.

He also noted that to increase the potential to export goods and services, a territorial map has been prepared identifying products that are either export ready, in development, or under consideration.

The Minister said that several complex related banking problems would have first to be resolved, “but it is important to ensure that cooperatives and self-employed workers are also participants in this recovery process”.

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