HAVANA._ The number of business people interested in investing in Cuba continues to grow every year. That reality is mainly owed to the potentialities that exist in different sectors and to the attractive future offered to investors in Cuba.

Both foreigners and Cubans are well aware that the opportunities that Cuba offers to foreign investment are attractive and can boost and consolidate commercial links that contribute capital, technology and market in the short term.

With a business portfolio of 246 projects from priority sectors at $8.7 billion, it seems beneficial to use that alternative to develop the island in line with the strategies conceived to update its economic model, according to Cuban experts.

The number of business people interested in investing in Cuba continues to grow every year. That reality is mainly owed to the potentialities that exist in different sectors and to the attractive future offered to investors in Cuba.The main objective of the Cuban Chamber of Commerce’s Group for the Promotion of Foreign Investment is to make public and follow all the interests and proposals coming from abroad.

Since that group began operating in January this year, a strategy has been adopted to spread Foreign Investment Law 118 (approved in March 2014), to receive proposals from potential investors, and follow up exchanges with the negotiating teams from organizations, as well as training initiatives for the parties involved, Mirtha Rippes Aller, the group’s coordinator, told The Havana Reporter.

The idea, she explained, is to serve as a bridge for all those people interested –both in the country and abroad- in knowing about the feasibility of the businesses made, and to provide legal assistance and assess every proposal and its commercial and economic effectiveness, which is crucial for the two sides.

These tasks are complemented through a similar group created by the Center for the Promotion of Cuba’s Foreign Trade and Investment (CEPEC), not with competitiveness in mind but as a complement in a common mission.

As part of their functions, a total of 170 notifications from different countries were received in the first eight months of this year, featuring such countries as Italy, Germany, China, Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Canada, Portugal and France.

Other countries with no commercial ties with Cuba like Cayman Islands and Australia have expressed their interest in investing here, while the United States and Puerto Rico have presented their offers already; yet, the economic, commercial and financial blockade does not allow any of these deals to take place.

According to observers, the most attractive sectors are, tourism, renewable energy, and the agriculture and energy fields.

For Rippes Aller, tourism is the one that most calls the attention due to its growth prospects in coming years in terms of potential number of visitors, and hotel and non-hotel facilities.Agriculture is likewise attractive.

The group, she noted, is like a link that serves to channel foreign interests in the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM) though a collaboration agreement, and at the same time, it monitors all proposals either for that zone or for the rest of the country with the objective of helping them to come true.

The business portfolio is expected to be updated in November with new projects likely to be included, while others already approved in the fields of tourism, agriculture and construction will be removed from the list.

A total of five foreign investment projects have been approved at the ZEDM for the production of goods and services, including one from Spain and two from Mexico.

Unlike other countries that welcome foreign investment in any sector, Cuba does not include the fields of education, health and armed institutions, except for their business systems. In the case of the land, only the usufruct system is in place.

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