Cuba allows foreign investment in the domestic trade market for the first time

International Business News  –  The Cuban government plans to allow some foreign investment in local wholesale and retail trade for the first time since Fidel Castro led the Cuban Revolution to victory in 1959, the report said.

Ana Teresita Gonzalez, first deputy minister of foreign trade and investment in Cuba, said on a television program in the evening of the 15th that foreign investors will be allowed for the first time to own local wholesalers or enter the market through joint ventures. She said that the measures announced should not be seen in isolation, but rather as decisions that will lead Cuba to recover from a complex economic situation and move forward gradually.

The report said the retail sector will be more restricted, but also opens the door for some companies in the sector.

The reforms will allow foreign entities to invest in warehousing and “back-end” logistics operations that supply state-owned and private companies, for example, supporting the country’s efforts to boost its inefficient retail sector.

Gonzalez also said Cuba will “selectively” allow some foreign investors to enter the retail market, as long as those investments help achieve the country’s economic goals and lower prices.

On the 16th, Cuban Economic Planning Minister Alejandro Hill commented on Twitter, “Given the strict restrictions we face, foreign investment in wholesale and retail trade will expand and diversify the goods offered to the population under state supervision and will contribute to the recovery of the country’s industry.”

Domestic Trade Minister Betsy Diaz-Belasque said Cuba will maintain its dominant position in the retail sector, but will allow some public-private joint ventures to enter the market.

“We will give priority to companies that stay in Cuba by offering them these business proposals.” Velasquez said.

Cuba is trying to redefine its economy through a variety of measures after the woes triggered by the new crown pandemic and sweeping U.S. sanctions that have hampered its recovery.

Long lines to buy goods, fuel shortages and frequent power outages have prompted Cuban authorities to speed up their plans to reform the country’s economy, according to reports.

The goal of the reform is to enable more raw materials and goods to reach Cuban producers and consumers, Gonzalez and Velasquez said on the same program on the evening of the 16th.