EFE/14ymedio, 4 March 2016 — Cuba’s opening to foreign capital does not mean the “accelerated privatization” of its economy, so the island insists on attracting investment projects that “match” the “public policy” of the country, according to an article Friday in the official newspaper Granma.
Deborah Rivas, Director General of Foreign Investment of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment (MINCEX), told the state media that there more than 200 businesses with foreign capital, 35 of which were approved under the new Foreign Investment law, March 2014.
“The objective is not to sell the country, it is not about doing any project that interests some foreign investors. It’s about attracting investors whose projects are consistent with our public policy. We are not undertaking an accelerated process of privatizing the Cuban economy,” said Rivas.
The MINCEX director said that most of the investments come from Europe and Canada, but added that the country is interested in the “diversification” of its economic partners to avoid “by all means, relying on a single market.”
With the growing interest of US businesspeople in doing business with their Cuban counterparts, Rivas said that because the United States still maintains an embargo on Cuba, “this is not one of the issues that will be solved most quickly” in the current process of normalization between the two countries.
Foreign investment is one of the pillars of economic reforms that Cuban President Raul Castro has ben seeking since the 2011 “update” of the country’s socialist model.
The new Law on Foreign Investment and the Mariel Special Development Mariel Zone (ZEDM), which provides favorable conditions for the establishment of foreign corporations, are the two flagship projects on the island to attract foreign capital, although the results still have not been felt.
The island is currently promoting a portfolio of business opportunities that includes 246 projects distributed in 11 economic areas which would total about 8.7 billion dollars.