Cuban light industry authorities have said that deals with foreign companies for the establishment of new joint ventures for the production of footwear, disposable diapers and clothing are being negotiated.

Roberto Cabrera, Director of the Light Industry Entrepreneurial Group, told The Havana Reporter that projects evaluated include a potential joint venture between the Chinese company “Grace” and the National Footwear Industry.

Cuban light industry authorities have said that deals with foreign companies for the establishment of new joint ventures for the production of footwear, disposable diapers and clothing are being negotiated.The future factory will have a six million pairs of shoes per annum capacity, produced by eight assembly lines in a facility located in the capital city.

Preliminary estimates indicate an initial investment cost of around 10 million dollars.

The project will meet the national market demand for sports and fashionable footwear for children, adolescents and adult men and women.

According to Cabrera, the agreement is in the final stage of negotiation and other potential partners are also being identified to set up a similar joint venture in the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZED).

The production capacity of this joint venture is to be around 20 million pairs of shoes per annum.

The Deputy President of the Light Industry Entrepreneurial Group, Magaly Calvo, said that the measures will help to reduce imports, to modernize the country’s industrial base and to improve product quality.

She added that these investments were of importance because the Cuban footwear industry presently manufactures only work boots and is unable to satisfy the domestic demand.

She also referred to talks with the Italian “Moroni” firm for the establishment of a factory for the manufacture of disposable diapers for children and adults, a project that would also qualify for ZED benefits.

Calvo said that the joint venture foresees an annually output of over 90 million diapers for children and over 60 million for adults.

Other projects include the signing of management contracts with several foreign companies to manufacture swimsuits, underwear, uniforms and other articles of clothing.

Negotiations for a contract with the Dominican “Quick Manufacturing”, company for the production of knitted fabric clothing are in their final stages.

Another important agreement relates to the participation of a Vietnamese firm for the production of washing powder.

There are presently nine joint venture companies operating in the Cuban light industry sector that manufacture boxes and packaging; cigar labels; foam and spring mattresses; toiletries, health and beauty products, and household goods.

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