Sunday, April 18, 2021

Cuba attracts $ 1.9 billion in foreign investment despite US sanctions | Latin America News

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The Caribbean island nation aims to attract $ 2 billion to $ 2.5 billion annually to update its state economy.

Cash-strapped Cuba said on Tuesday it had attracted $ 1.9 billion in foreign investment over the past year despite tighter U.S. sanctions.

Trade Minister Rodrigo Malmierca told an online press conference that Cuba continues to reduce internal barriers to investors, adding that the 34 investments approved on the island since October 2019 were no small feat. given the “economic war” waged by the outgoing US administration. President Donald Trump.

These included sanctions on Venezuelan oil shipments to Communist-controlled Cuba, ever-tighter restrictions on travel from the United States to the Caribbean island, and limits on remittances, one of its main sources of hard currency. Washington’s tougher stance has also led international banks to shy away from transactions involving Cuba.

On top of that, the coronavirus pandemic this year has disrupted tourism and prompted Cuba to implement a partial lockdown.

“All of this has created a lot of restrictions in the supply of hard currency, delays in payments to suppliers and companies that have dealings with Cuba,” Malmierca said during the virtual event that took place this year and which replaced the country’s annual trade and investment show due to the pandemic.

The amount of foreign capital attracted was slightly over $ 1.7 billion last year, Malmierca said, calling it an accomplishment given the circumstances, but still below Cuba’s needs. The country aims to attract between $ 2 billion and $ 2.5 billion per year to update its state economy.

Malmierca said Cuba has further reduced barriers to foreign investment. Now, for example, only natural resource extraction projects and public services would require a majority Cuban stakeholder.

Other upcoming market-oriented reforms that Cuba announced this year should also facilitate investment, he said, citing the imminent elimination of the country’s dual currency system which has created distortions in the economy. .

Malmierca said this year’s portfolio of ready-made investment opportunities included smaller projects that could be of interest to small and medium-sized businesses and Cubans living abroad, as well as larger projects.



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