Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Markets grow freer in Cuba

Cuba has issued two surprising free-market decrees, allowing foreign
investors to lease government land for up to 99 years and loosening
state controls on commerce to let islanders grow and sell their own
fruit and vegetables.
By WILL WEISSERT
The Associated Press

HAVANA — Cuba has issued two surprising free-market decrees, allowing
foreign investors to lease government land for up to 99 years —
potentially touching off a golf-course building boom — and loosening
state controls on commerce to let islanders grow and sell their own
fruit and vegetables.

The moves, published into law in the Official Gazette on Thursday and
Friday and effective immediately, are significant steps as President
Raul Castro promises to scale back the communist state's control of the
economy while attempting to generate new revenue for a government short
on cash.

Cuba said it was modifying its property laws "with the aim of amplifying
and facilitating" foreign investment in tourism.

Investors in Canada, Europe and Asia have been waiting to crack the
market for long-term tourism in Cuba, built on drawing well-heeled
visitors who could live part time on the island instead of just hitting
the beach for a few days.

The change may also help the country embrace golf tourism. Investment
firms have for decades proposed building lavish 18-hole courses ringed
by luxury housing under long-term government leases.

Cuba has just two golf courses; the Tourism Ministry has said it wants
to build at least 10 more.

Endorsing 99-year property agreements also makes it easy to imagine a
Cuban coastline dotted with time shares, luxury villas and other
hideaways that could serve as second homes.

"This is probably one of the most significant moves in recent years
relative to attracting foreign investment," said Robin Conners, CEO of
Vancouver, B.C.-based Leisure Canada, which plans to begin construction
next year on a luxury hotel in Havana. It also wants to build hotels,
villas and two championship golf courses on a beach in Jibacoa, 40 miles
to the east.

Cuba has allowed leases of state land for up to 50 years with the option
to extend them for an additional 25, but foreign investors had long
pressed tourism officials to endorse 99-year deals.

The decree allowing expanded sale of farm products, meanwhile, could
have far greater impact on ordinary Cubans. It authorizes them to
produce their own agricultural goods — from melons to milk — and sell
them from home or in kiosks. They must pay taxes on any earnings.

Cubans already sell fruits, pork, cheese and other items on the sides of
highways, fleeing into the bushes when the police happen past. Friday's
measure would legalize such practices, while ensuring the state takes a cut.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2012744433_cuba28.html?syndication=rss


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