[:es]Havana, nov 1.- “In terms of foreign investment, there has been modest progress as regards the realization of new businesses, both inside and outside the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM), as well as reinvestments in several of the existing projects,” stated Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, on opening the 35th edition of the Havana International Trade Fair October 30th, running through November 3 at the ExpoCuba site.
Malmierca reported that since the last edition of this event, a significant number of businesses with foreign capital have been approved in strategic sectors of the economy, such as renewable energy, tourism, construction, mining and oil exploration, together with financial services and industry, especially the light, food and sugar industries.
According to the Minister, so far this year businesses have been approved for a total committed capital amount of more than 2 billion dollars. He also noted that there are several projects in the advanced stage of negotiations with real possibilities to materialize before the end of the year.
“This shows that despite the attempts of the U.S. government to tighten the blockade and seek to isolate Cuba, our country continues to arouse growing interest as a destination for foreign investment,” Malmierca stressed.
He added that the Fair continues to consolidate itself as a highly representative multisectorial trade event in Latin America and the Caribbean. The participation of businesspeople and representatives from more than 70 countries, and more than 3,400 accredited exhibitors, in an area covering some 27,000 square meters, reaffirms the event as a useful and important space for trade and investment.
Malmierca, also president of the Organizing Committee, highlighted the presence of Cuba’s main trading partners: Venezuela, Russia, China and Spain; the latter being the most represented country. Similarly, he noted the attendance of Latin American and Caribbean nations, in line with interests to increase regional economic ties and strengthen integration.
The Minister reiterated that Cuba faces financial constraints, mainly caused by the declining prices of its exportable goods in the international market, the difficulties experienced by some of its main trading partners, and the tightening of the U.S. blockade. Added to this are the impacts of weather phenomena such as Hurricane Irma. In this sense, he thanked all those friends of the island who have demonstrated their interest in assisting the recovery.
He also stressed that Cuba has continued to comply with its commitments resulting from the restructuring of its external debt, agreed with its main creditors, and reiterated the firm determination to continue honoring these obligations.
However, he explained that due to the temporary restrictions in hard currency liquidity, Cuban enterprises have been unable to keep up-to-date with current payments to their suppliers.
Meanwhile, he recalled that June 16 the President of the United States announced his government’s policy toward Cuba, which intensifies the blockade. These decisions ignore the interests of broad sectors of the U.S., especially the business community that, despite the obstacles imposed, remains interested in developing business with the island.
In his opening remarks, Rodrigo Malmierca also recalled Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz, “who was the architect of this event and for several years was personally responsible for supporting and promoting it.”
Similarly, the Minister announced that from this Tuesday through November 1, the Second Investment Forum will be held in at the ExpoCuba fairgrounds, including the launch of the new edition of the island’s Portfolio of Foreign Investment Opportunities.
A presentation on the ZEDM will also feature, as well as two panels dedicated to the food and agriculture and industrial sectors. Around 250 bilateral meetings between Cuban and foreign businesspeople from more than 30 countries are also scheduled.
Attending the FIHAV 3017 opening ceremony were Ricardo Cabrisas Ruiz, a vice president of the Council of Ministers and minister of Economy and Planning; Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, member of the Party Political Bureau and general secretary of the Cuban Workers’ Federation; ministers of various sectors of the economy and other government authorities. (Granma.cu)[:]