Havana.- Expert attention is currently riveted on investment as a key to Cuba’s economic development, demonstrable today at an international event in Havana dedicated to food products.
The Sixth Latin American and Caribbean Congress on Safe, Quality Food Products provides a timely opportunity to examine the subject, with 500 specialists from 15 countries in attendance, with experience in gastronomy and the food business.
Yohaney Savigne, an expert at Cuba’s Center for the Promotion of Foreign Trade and Investment (CEPEC) mentioned that agency’s interest in the meeting, and added that the majority of officials in attendance have some connection with the national economy.
Today’s discussions will continue not just in the hallways at Havana’s Convention Center, where the event is being held, but in other panels and seminars, with great expectations for growth in the food sector.
Savigne pointed out that Havana’s upcoming International Fair (FIHAV 2014), scheduled for November at its usual space, the ExpoCuba fairgrounds, will be dedicated to the fundamental sectors that are likely investment targets, such as food, an area that offers multiple possibilities.
The general guidelines established by Law 118 (governing foreign investment) are seen as essential to developing high quality products for an international market, and equally important, access to high technology production inputs.
Such technology would allow for a modernization of Cuba’s capacities and offers fertile ground for foreign investors.
Savigne also mentioned that at FIHAV, the main Cuban market for trade, more than 1,500 exhibitors will occupy the more than 20,000 square meters of exhibition space.
The food industry is one of the sectors fast tracked for foreign investment, with an emphasis on products that assist Cuba in developing its own competitive products, he said.
The favorable environment for investment, political, social and legal stability as well as Cuba’s strategic geographical location and the high level of its local experts are all points that favor the majority of investors, he added.
Cuba’s recently upgraded transportation and port infrastructure, along with its globally recognized health system complete the picture, especially at a time when Cuba’s high quality medical services are being exported.
Other areas mentioned by Savigne for possible investment include construction and pharmaceuticals, all despite the obstacles posed by the economic and trade barriers set up by the United States against Cuba that continue to be reinforced even after 50 years of their existence.
Plenty of international agreements are in effect to guarantee protection for foreign investment; a kind of red carpet for those interesting in working with Cuba, he added.
Joint enterprises are even possible; as examples, he mentioned Havana Club, Bravo and Portales, either through foreign sourced capital or joint economic contracts (in the cases of hotels, tourism or oil), all of them well-recognized pathways that remain open to the future.
By Roberto F. Campos, Periodico26.cu
September 17, 2014