According to its decision of reorienting, modernising and developing one of the principal activities of its economy, Cuba materialised business deals and projects with companies from other countries during the Cubaindustria 2016 Convention and Fair. Russia, China and European nations like Italy led the alliances in a space in which companies from 29 nations, including the United States, participated.
In addition to praising the displays of the national industry, Vice President of the Council of Ministers and Economy and Planning Minister Marino Murillo Jorge displayed encouragement in seeing that there are important foreign companies interested in maintaining long-term links and development projections with Cuba.
“It’s not about people coming to a fair to sell us equipment,” he said during his visit to the Pabexpo fairgrounds, one of the event’s venues. “It is necessary to find partners who are also ready to transform our industry, and little by little start integrating all these equipment into national production,” he affirmed.
Cuba has created conditions with this aim, Industry Minister Salvador Pardo said during the inauguration of this Second Convention. He explained to the participants the legislations approved recently in the country to promote foreign investment, after identifying it as a necessary source for development.
Murillo Jorge commented that many of the projects Cuba is boosting today “need a different structure of financing that allows for that debt to be paid with the very financing of our investment.”
The Cuban government’s new law came into force in 2013 with the aim of encouraging foreign investment, providing legal security to the foreign partners and also guaranteeing the protection of the environment and the rational use of natural resources, Industry Minister Pardo said.
He also reported on the additional advantages offered by the Mariel Special Development Zone to attract national and foreign investments. In addition to legal guarantees, it has an infrastructure especially conceived for the installation of industries that generate exports and replace imports, promoting the transference of technology and generating sources of employment and long-term financing.
With projects in strategic sectors, the Russian and Chinese companies stand out among the partners who have responded to the offer of the Cuban industry.
The companies of the Asian giant have made progress for the short- and mid-term materialisation of investments to improve and expand the Cuban production of household electrical appliances, especially TV sets. During the event, the industry minister reviewed joint projects with his Chinese counterpart, Miao Wei, like the investment worth millions previewed for the modernisation of Cuba’s printing industry. The objective is to increase the publishing of books and other graphic productions, with greater quality and better efficiency.
One of the most immediate projects between both countries points to the strengthening of the production of photovoltaic panels, key to advance in the programme to expand the use of renewable energy sources and transform the Cuban energy matrix.
The Russian companies are also participating in the Cuban energy projects through investments in the modernisation of two thermoelectric plants, one of them in Mariel, and with projects linked to the transportation industry. This includes investments to renew the motor vehicle park with Kamaz trucks, to remodel locomotives, wagons and railway equipment and to back the maintenance of aircraft bought from Moscow.
A project for the modernisation of Cuba’s largest iron and steel plant is already being implemented with the backing of Russia. Authorities from Moscow estimate that the largest of the Caribbean islands could become a centre to supply all of Latin America with certain Russian-made merchandise.
The U.S. companies are not passively looking at what is happening in the Caribbean neighbour. The president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Washington DC, Angela Franco, present in Cubaindustria, said she was completely convinced that, starting now, there are going to be many opportunities of exchange between both countries. However, she recognised that the U.S. companies are still exploring, continuing relations, understanding that the investment possibilities exist.
I see advantages for one country as well as for the other, Franco said, since we have a great deal to mutually teach ourselves, from the economic point of view as well as social values and responsibility.
Alternatives for the investment of Cuban enterprises from multiple sectors, especially those that the authorities have defined as strategic in the mid- and long-term development until 2030, were presented and offered in Cubaindustria. In addition to productions of the metallurgical industry to back the agro-industrial development, food production and infrastructures, entities of the light industry, the manufacturing of equipment to use renewable energy sources and the electronic industry, applied to medical and industrial devices, the automation of processes and chemistry shared the space at the fair. (2016)
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