Cuba looks to attract foreign investment at business and trade fair

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-30 07:34:14|Editor: Song Lifang
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HAVANA, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Cuba seeks to attract foreign investors with a newly expanded investment portfolio to be presented at the upcoming 35th Havana International Trade Fair (FIHAV 2017).

From Oct. 30 to Nov. 3, FIHAV will be the largest fair ever in terms of exhibition area, covering 25,000 square meters, about 4,000 more than last year, at a convention center on the outskirts of Havana.

According to Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca, Cuba has updated its portfolio to offer the largest number of projects yet in tourism, renewable energies, oil exploration, food imports and nickel development.

"This year's trade and business fair will show the trust and consolidation of foreign investors in the Cuban market, with the participation of companies from 63 countries and 37 high-level delegations including ministers," Malmierca said at a recent press conference.

"Our main business and trade partners will have greater representation at this year's fair, a sign that our market is one of the most important in the region," he added.

The fair will also host the second edition of the Cuban business opportunity forum, an event to be inaugurated by Malmierca on Tuesday to provide foreign businessmen with information about investing in Cuba and networking with local partners.

"This forum is a real opportunity to nail down important trade deals for Cuba and also to increase future foreign investment in the island," \said the minister.

Cuba will feature its goods and services in a pavilion that will house more than 300 companies and entities from all economic sectors, including the Mariel Special Development Zone, the government's flagship project to attract foreign capital.

During this year's FIHAV, 16 nations are participating with pavilions of their own, including France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, China, Russia and Spain, the latter once again having the largest presence.

Cuba's new foreign investment law, approved in 2014 by parliament, provides a favorable economic and investment environment for companies to set up joint ventures in the island.

Cuba is banking on attracting some 2.5 billion U.S. dollars a year in foreign investment, as essential to steady growth.

In the first six months of 2017, 11 new foreign investment projects were approved, as well as re-investments in two already underway, all worth more than 1.3 billion dollars, Deborah Rivas, the island's general director of foreign investment, said.