The Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM), the spearhead of Cuba’s opening to foreign investments, approved five new projects in the first months of this year and also confirmed the opportunity it offers to regional trade in the Caribbean.
In the four months since the last edition of the Havana International Trade Fair, the number of companies of diverse profile and nationality that have agreed to establish themselves in that point, with industrial development and logistics plans, have grown from 19 to 24.
This was announced a few days ago by the director of Business Assessment of the ZEDM Office, Oscar Pérez-Oliva, during a summit of the Association of Caribbean States, which was held in Havana, with the aim of promoting commercial ties in the region.
The most recent approvals still do not satisfy the pace of activities the Zone expected, as the country’s authorities and national media have pointed out on other occasions. This appreciation was confirmed this time by Pérez-Oliva when he recognised that the incorporation of investors “is advancing discreetly, but in a sustained way.”
The most recent announcements also confirm foreign entrepreneurs’ continued interest in the benefits and priorities of this economic zone, which Cuba created in 2013 to incentivise integral projects to replace imports, to promote exports with national products with a high added value and to generate jobs posts, in coordination with international trade and the domestic economy.
Eleven countries have already invested in the ZEDM, with a committed capital of 966 million dollars and expectations of creating more than 4,000 job posts, the director of Business Assessment reported.
Among the five new projects with participation of Panama, Brazil, Portugal, Spain and Cuba, Pérez-Oliva mentioned one of construction, one industrial and three logistics: the Portuguese company Engimov Caribe S.A., of design, engineering and construction materials; the Panamanian Autocentro ZED, of logistic services for transportation; the Spanish Grupo TOT Color S.A., devoted to the manufacturing of special paints; the Cuban-Spanish company LogísticaHotelera del Caribe S.A., of logistic services centred on tourism; and the Brazilian Fidas do Brasil S.A., also of logistic services.
These companies are being added to the 19 projects presented during the last Havana International Trade Fair.
Pérez-Oliva availed himself of this occasion to explain that the Zone, with a container terminal and advanced port technology, is an opportunity to strengthen interregional ties and with other countries. In his opinion, the ZEDM is an interesting means for the Caribbean countries to have access to the cooperation agreements Cuba maintains with the rest of Latin America and the world.
This Special Development Zone was created, Pérez-Oliva reiterated, as a long-term plan for industrial, logistic, port and commercial activities and projects with the aim of locating the Caribbean in a strategic place for trade, while backing regional and global integration. (2017)
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