Bus company interested in Mariel manufacturing zone
CUBA STANDARD — Brazilian bus manufacturer Marcopolo may be interested
in using the Mariel special development zone (ZDE) for an assembly
operation, Cuba’s trade attaché in Panama told Boletín Panamá in August.
Separately, without mentioning potential locations, the head of
Brazilian trade promotion agency Apex said last year that Marcopolo
wants to open a manufacturing plant in Cuba. Marcopolo executives last
fall met with executives of state company Caisa, the potential Cuban
counterpart in a joint venture, according to the Apex executive.
Companies such as Marcopolo “are interested in using the Cuban
workforce, because they already have experience with assembly line work,
in addition to technical knowledge,” said trade attaché Yanni Solano,
according to Boletín Panamá.
Marcopolo, which did not respond to Cuba Standard inquiries, has
assembly operations in Mexico and Colombia; Brazilian competitor Busscar
has been assembling microbuses in Cuba since the 1990s.
This is the second mention of a Brazilian company that may want to
operate at the Mariel ZDE. The first Brazilian company that has
committed to set up shop in the zone is São Paulo-based Fanavid S.A.The
glassmaker will open a manufacturing facility to supply Cuba, Brazil and
the Caribbean region with architectural glass, a Foreign Ministry
spokesman in Brazil said last year.
The port of Mariel, 30 miles east of Havana, is undergoing a $950
million expansion that will make it one of the largest container hubs in
the Caribbean with a capacity of up to 1 million containers, eventually
replacing cargo operations at the Port of Havana. Next to the new
container hub is the Mariel Integrated Development Zone (ZDIM). The ZDIM
is part of Cuba’s planned free-trade zones (ZDE), allowing companies to
benefit from less red tape, simplified customs procedures, and a highly
skilled Cuban workforce. The ZDE are part of a government effort to
convince foreign investors to produce high value-added goods and
services for export in Cuba. ZDIM S.A. is operated by a subsidiary of
GAESA, the Cuban armed forces’ holding company.
To establish the free-trade zones, Cuba must change its foreign
investment law. The Brazilian government said last year it was assisting
Cuba in the creation of a legal framework for the special development
zones; no new regulations have been published yet.
“We have a lot of interest in cooperating in the definition of this
model, in order to bring in the biggest possible number of Brazilian
companies,” Brazil’s Foreign Trade Minister Fernando Pimentel said last
year while touring the construction site.
Cuban Foreign Trade and Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca said
during the Mariel tour with Pimentel that his country is interested in
“more integration” between Cuban and Brazilian companies, according to
the Brazilian ministry of development, industry and foreign trade. “We
are offering technology transfer in exchange for investment in plants,
and Mariel could serve this purpose,” Malmierca said, according to a
press release by the Brazilian ministry.
Brazil’s Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES) is
financing 85 percent of the port project, including the ZDE, with Cuba
funding the remaining 15 percent, according to the Brazilian government.
Brazilian construction giant Grupo Odebrecht is in charge of the
execution; Brazilian companies are providing practically all supplies
and services for the project.
Meanwhile, official daily Granma on Sept. 3 quoted a Brazilian diplomat
in Havana saying that President Dilma Rousseff is expected to visit Cuba
for the official opening of the port. A first segment of the port is
expected to be completed in December, but full operations aren’t
expected until 2014.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 at 2:43 pm
Source: “Bus company interested in Mariel manufacturing zone « Cuba
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