Cuba Eyes South Korea for Investment

By Progreso Weekly

Cuba's deputy foreign trade minister Ileana Bárbara Núñez Mordoche
Cuba’s deputy trade minister Ileana Bárbara Núñez Mordoche

HAVANA TIMES — Cuba’s deputy trade minister was set to arrive in Seoul on Monday (May 26), becoming the highest ranking official from the island to visit South Korea since the countries’ diplomatic ties were severed in 1959.

Ileana Bárbara Núñez Mordoche plans to attend an investment fair and hold one-on-one meetings with South Korean business executives interested in investing in Cuba, according to the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA).

According to KOTRA’s president, Young Ho-oh, the agency “added an investment promotion focus in the late 1990s, supporting Korea as it overcame the Asian financial crisis. Since then, we have taken on new and expanding roles to support Korean companies expanding overseas […] and to create jobs overseas.”

Núñez Mordoche reportedly will promote her country’s agricultural, food, electronics, tourism and medical sectors as deserving of investments.

KOTRA’s Young Ho-oh
KOTRA’s Young Ho-oh

“Cuba has revised its law on foreign investment for the first time in 20 years to offer tax incentives to foreign investors and also to recognize their ownership of assets in Cuba,” a KOTRA official told the South Korean news agency Yonhap.

Cuba’s Law on Foreign Investment (Law No. 118), as revised in March and published in mid-April, will take effect June 28.

KOTRA currently operates a trade information office in Havana’s Miramar Trading Center. The office opened in October 2005, three years after KOTRA signed cooperation agreements with the Cuban centers for Export Promotion and Investment Promotion and with the Chamber of Commerce.

Last November, 11 South Korean businesses participated in the 2013 International Fair of Havana (FIHAV). South Korean firms have exhibited their products at FIHAV every year since 1995.

Trade between Cuba and South Korea amounts to about $100 million a year, according to the Cuban Chamber of Commerce. Nickel has been Cuba’s main export product to that Asian country.


6 thoughts on “Cuba Eyes South Korea for Investment

  • Key point to remember here is that on Cuban relationships with the Korean peninsula is that the Cuban public is not seen as important enough to have a say.

  • The Cuban people are unaware of the North Korean “sugar missiles” incident, as they are of the hundred of other criminal activities their government engages in. That’s one of the benefits have having 100% control of the media: the dictatorship can do whatever they want and are accountable to nobody.

  • Strange bedfellows given the tensions between North and South Korea, the latter being more aligned to the US of A. Is this not shifting the goal posts in a somewhat hypocritical way?
    Having just returned from Cuba, Capitalism is rapidly creeping in by the back door and the entrepreneurial attitude is becoming more a way of life. It appears that investment just about anywhere around the Globe will become accepted practice.

  • Cuba looks everywhere for investment, even to the countries that are the target of the weapons it sent to North Korea. How hypocrite can you get: arm the enemies of a country and seek its investment.

  • The comparison between North and South Korea demonstrates clearly the difference between a Socialist/Communist dictatorship of the Kim family with the third generation of Kim Jung Un currently in power and a capitalist democratic country. Where would one rather live? Products such as Samsung, Hundai and Kia from South Korea are to be found already in Cuba and my memory tells me that the Canadian citizen holding the franchise for Hundai in Cuba has been jailed for paying staff above the minimum rate permitted by the Castro regime. No doubt Cuba is seeking yet more money from the capitalist world. I was interested to find when returning to Cuba after the incident when the Panamanians uncovered the aircraft and armaments hidden under sugar and destined for North Korea, that Cubans were unaware of the incident. Obviously Cuba is prepared toi get into bed with anybody that will aid their finances. It would be fascinating to know what Kim thinks about the visit.

  • It’s curious how the trade mission comes after Cuba was reprimanded
    earlier this year for secretly sending weapons to South Korea’s perennial enemy
    North Korea, on a freighter that was detained in Panama. I guess business is business.

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