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.
“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.