Cuba open for business, ministers tell French executives
2 February 2016
PARIS (Reuters) – Cuba sought to drum up foreign investment on Tuesday
as ministers on a state visit to Paris promised French business leaders
that the Communist-run country is open for business.
Cuba saw growth reach 4 percent last year as the centrally-planned
economy gradually opens up and the country re-builds ties with the West.
In the latest example of that re-engagement, the ministers were
accompanying Cuban President Raul Castro on the first state visit of a
Cuban leader to France since the country’s independence.
Ricardo Cabrisas Ruiz, Cuba’s vice president of the council of
ministers, told a French-Cuban business forum that a December debt
relief deal with Cuba’s Paris Club leaders had lifted a major burden off
the cash-starved country’s back, clearing the way for further investment.
“The government can help put in place a favourable business climate and
that is what we are doing,” Foreign Trade and Investment Minister
Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz said.
He added that there was also no taboo in doing business with U.S.-based
companies, though the government did not want to become dependent on
firms from its vastly bigger northern neighbour either.
“We won’t keep out American business people, they are welcome, but we
want to keep our relations diverse,” the minister said, adding: “We
don’t want to be tributary to anyone.”
Cuba is hoping to attract flows of foreign investment with a new port 40
kilometres (25 miles) from Havana that it is promoting as a potential
regional trade and business hub, offering 10-year tax holidays to
foreign businesses that set up there.
French construction group Bouygues is building infrastructure at the
port while French shipping firm CMA-CGA [CMACG.UL] is setting up a
logistics centre there.
(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Andrew Callus)
Source: Cuba open for business, ministers tell French executives –