Press Release - Cuba Business Gateway

An unprecedented opportunity has arisen in the immediate future to develop highly
rewarding business interaction with the Republic of Cuba in areas such as tourism,
agriculture, construction, renewable energy and high tech and other sectors that offer
enormous benefits to both the investor and the country itself.
CUBA BUSINESS GATEWAY has been established with a view to promoting trade and
investment with Cuba and assisting Irish and European companies interested in doing
business with Cuba. Cuba Business Gateway has the support of the Cuban Ministry of
Trade and Investment in Havana
Apart from the effect of the economic downturn there has been a reluctance in doing
business with Cuba because of the US blockade. There are added perceived
unfounded concerns regarding political stability in Cuba.
In 2014 Cuba had commercial relations with over 160 countries and Cuba is a very safe
place to visit and do business.
The recent joint announcements from Washington and Havana by both Presidents
indicated an historic change in direction for both countries. This combined with the
announcements by the Cuban government in July 2014 of major changes in the tax
code accompanied by investor friendly initiatives relating to commercial activity in Cuba,
as well as new State guarantees for investors, mean that the time is perfect to invest in
this Caribbean nation.
Foreign Investment in Cuba
This potential opportunities arise because the Cuban government has opened up the
country’s economy to increased foreign investment by creating a new investor-friendly
economic climate in the country, facilitated by very significant changes in the laws of
Cuba which took effect in summer 2014.
On March 29, 2014, the Cuban National Assembly passed Law No. 118, the ‘Foreign
Investment Act’ which came into effect at the end of June 2014. This legislative initiative,
reflecting new thinking by the Cuban authorities, opens up major sectors of the Cuban
economy to foreign investment and makes foreign investment much more attractive
from the investor’s point of view. New tax and other financial incentives enhance the
prospects of success for the investor and offer guarantees of greater investor rewards
and profitability and make the country a truly attractive investment destination.
In order to benefit from the full advantages of the new legislation and its related
incentives, the Government of Cuba envisages that the relevant foreign investment –
Should ideally be a source of economic development for the country in the short,
medium and long term;
Should ideally grant access to modern technology, management methods, as
well as assisting the diversification and expansion of Cuba’s exports;
Should assist in replacing imports
Should facilitate easier access, if possible, to foreign financing;
Should ideally create new jobs;
Should ideally help to develop improved production chains so as to increase
The Key Sectors
The new legislative framework, in line with national policy priorities and in terms
of attracting direct foreign investment is aimed primarily at the following sectors
of the Cuban economy:
Energy and Mining
Agriculture and Forestry
The Food Industry
The Sugar Industry
The Steel, Light Industry, Chemicals and Electronics industries,
The Pharmaceutical and Biotechnological Industries
The Wholesales area
Tourism and Transport
Priority Projects
Priority will be given to projects and proposals that:
Generate energy, especially from renewable sources;
Transfer technology, including management techniques;
Develop industrial infrastructure;
Involve agricultural production;
Develop the agro-food industry;
Involve hydrocarbons and mining productions;
Promote tourism, including health tourism;
Generate production chains.
Special Tax Regime
Advantages of the new tax regime that is now part of the new laws in Cuba include:
1. Foreign investors in Joint Ventures or International Economic Associations (IEA)
are exempt from paying personal income tax in respect of revenues resulting
from business dividends and profits;
2. Foreign investors in Joint Ventures or International Economic Associations (IEA)
are exempt from paying Corporate Profit Tax during the first eight years, and in
some cases for longer periods;
3. After the first eight years, the Corporate Profit Tax rate will be 15%; reinvested
profits will pay 0% Corporate Profit Tax;
4. Foreign investors in Joint Ventures or International Economic Associations (IEA)
are exempt from paying taxes arising from the use of labour force;
5. Foreign investors in Joint Ventures or International Economic Associations (IEA)
are exempt from paying customs duties during the investment process.
Guarantees for Investors
Full guarantees are now provided to foreign investors, including:
1. The Cuban State guarantee foreign investors the free transfer abroad, in freely
convertible currency, free from taxes or any other fees associated to such
transfer, of dividends or profits obtained as a result of the investment;
2. Foreign investors can sell or transfer their rights to the State or to the other
parties in the IEA, or to a third party;
3. Foreign investments in Cuba will enjoy full governmental protection and legal
security and cannot be expropriated.
Familiarisation Trip to Cuba
Businesses choosing to invest and operate in Cuba can take the form of ‘Joint Ventures’
with Cuban companies, or as a ‘Totally Foreign Capital Company’, which simply means
a commercial company with foreign capital without the involvement of any Cuban
investor or partner.
Cuba Business Gateway evolved from the Ireland Cuba Business Network (ICBN). Over
the last 4 years ICBN has established contacts in various government ministries in the
commercial and policy divisions of the ministries. There are procedures for doing
business with Cuba and in the past many companies and individuals have gone to Cuba
to investigate business opportunities only to become frustrated by the difficulty in getting
to the right people and getting answers needed to make decisions on investment and
return without satisfaction and having spent time and money to no avail. The primary
focus of Cuba Business Gateway is to assist companies and others through the
procedures having established the contacts.
Cuba Business Gateway will be organising a business familiarisation trip to Cuba in
early 2015 for those interested in doing business in Cuba. For further information please
send your details via the contact form on the web site including the sector you or your
company is interested in. Please ensure you include your ‘phone number and you will
be contacted directly.
Martin Connolly
Dublin, Ireland, January 1st 2015