Cuba is eager to boost foreign investment

Cuba is eager to boost foreign investmentCommunist-run Cuba is working on speeding up the slow pace of negotiations with foreign investors to help it come closer to meeting its target of $2 billion in investment annually to update the economy, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The island has approved just $1.3 billion worth of projects since a law to bolster foreign investment was approved more than two years ago, Foreign Commerce Minister Rodrigo Malmierca said at the country's annual trade fair.

"We are below our expectations and above all, below what we need," Malmierca said in a presentation of this year's ready-made business opportunities, officially called the portfolio.

“We need to keep working hard for deals to become reality without problems, without unnecessary delays," he said.

Cuban businessmen were cautious because they did not have much experience in this domain, the minister said, adding that the country wants to build up entrepreneurial skills.

Malmierca said this year's portfolio included 395 projects, ranging from tourist resorts to peanut production, amounting to $9.5 billion of investment, up from $8.2 billion last year.

The portfolio includes opportunities in healthcare, tourism, transportation, the sugar industry, mining and renewable energy.

Cuba's quest for greater foreign investment is part of a broader bid to update its Soviet-style command economy.

This year's trade fair in Cuba could be the largest ever, with 73 countries and 3,500 exhibitors present.
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