Parliament unanimously approves the legislation
HAVANA TIMES — Cuba’s parliament today unanimously approved the new law to attract more foreign investment to the Caribbean island, reported dpa news.
The more than 600 members of the National Assembly gathered at the Havana Convention Center to approve the latest in the market reforms championed by the government of Raul Castro. It will take effect within 90 days.
Even the most controversial legislation in Cuba is routinely approved without opposition, from what detractors consider a rubber-stamp parliament.
The Foreign Investment Law will open the economy to foreign capital in nearly “all sectors”, according to information published in the official media. Foreign Trade Minister Rodrigo Malmierca said the new law will also allow investments from Cuban exiles.
Some of the nuances are a drop in the tax for joint ventures (with the Cuban state) on profits from 30 to 15% with an 8-year grace period, while fully owned foreign projects will have fewer incentives.
With the reform, the government hopes to obtain up to 2.500 billion dollars a year in direct foreign investment, noted Vice President Marino Murillo, who is in charge of overseeing the economic reforms.
Some of the more attractive areas of the economy to open for investment are agriculture, sugar production, building renovation and real estate, notes Reuters.
“If the economy does not grow at levels around 7 percent … we are not going to be able to develop,” said Malmierca.
President/General Raul Castro also attended the parliament meeting to cast his vote. He has repeatedly advocated in recent months for such a law to increase capital inflows to revive the economy of the island and support the socialist agenda.
While the new law involves virtually all of Cuba, investors in the recently opened Mariel Port Special Economic Zone will receive additional incentives.
A discussion on the rights of Cuban workers employed by the joint ventures or all foreign companies was not mentioned in any of the reports.
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