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Just returned from a trade delegation session in Cuba. A few points on how they are planning to approach foreign investments and business locating in the country:

  • They very much want to use China's approach to economic modernization and growth; but don't want to trade their Core Communist beliefs for growth; talking out of both sides of their mouth
  • Industrial priorities are unclear as they call out everything from automobile manufacturing to tourism to agriculture
  • Their ICT infrastructure is almost exclusively all Chinese...there is some Wifi available in the country...$4.50 hour
  • For any MNC,
    • taxes on corporate profits will be cut by 50%
    • and gives an 8 year tax holiday outright...
    • no labor or payroll taxes

    [*]The gov't will have a very heavy hand in hiring and must approve every hire...this is currently keeping any foreign business growth at 0....; the business pays the state; the state pays the employee in Cuban Pesos...Cuban have no access to foreign currency. They want to create a local credit market; but don't really want to open up to the degree where this seems likely in the near term (they want the US to change all it's credit rules for them first).

    [*]The Gov't goal is for 40% of Cubans to be employed in one of 220 private sector (approved) occupations

    [*]Travel restrictions for Cubans coming and going are almost all eliminated now

    [*]The Mariel port will be their main entry point for goods...built with Brazilian loans and being operated by Singapore PSA ...very competitive import fees and regulations hoping for full trade with the US

    [*]It's gonna be a while before US interests can ramp inside the country

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