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Apr 15, 2024 / 19:29

Vietnam calls on Cuba to further facilitate Vietnamese investors

Vietnam suggested that the two countries need to have appropriate mechanisms to help Vietnamese firms maintain and expand their operations in Cuba’s signature industrial zone.

Vietnam has urged Cuba to tackle problems hindering Vietnamese business investment in the Latin American country. 

Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang and Vietnamese senior officials work with authorities at the Zona Especial de Desarrollo Mariel (ZEDM) on April 14 (local time). Photos: VGP 

Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang told Cuban senior officials, including Oscar Pérez-Oliva, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment (Mincex) and Teresa Igarza, General Director of the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM), during a visit here on April 14 (local time).

Located 45 kilometers west of Havana and 42 km from Jose Marti International Airport, the ZEDM has its own regulatory framework with significant tax incentives to encourage investment in renewable energy, biotechnology, food production, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications, among others.

Inaugurated in January 2014, the ZEDM is one of the most modern industrial parks in Cuba. According to Teresa Igarza, the park has approved 64 projects, of which 44 are in operation, with a total investment of US$3.3 billion. Vietnam is the second biggest investor there with Vigracera, as a wholly foreign-owned company, building and managing an industrial zone within the ZEDM, Thai Binh Corp's renewable energy, detergent and hygiene, and AgriVMA's animal feed project. 

However, the embargo, the impact of Covid-19, and global conflicts have sent shock waves through the Cuban economy, affecting Vietnamese businesses.   

Deputy PM Tran Luu Quang offers gifts to Vietnamese workers in Cuba.  

Vietnamese investors regard Cuba as a potential market and expect the Government of Cuba to soon take appropriate measures to facilitate their business in the zone.

Deputy PM Tran Luu Quang shared the difficulties faced by Cuban Cuba and Vietnamese businesses operating in the ZEDM and called on local authorities to build mechanisms to help the companies maintain their operations, contributing to the strengthening of the economic ties between the two nations.

He suggested further cooperation in other fields such as biotechnology and food production, in order to adapt to circumstances and make full use of preferential policies offered at the special zone. 

As a result of the aforementioned challenges, the Cuban government has taken measures to support investors from January 2024, such as lowering taxes on goods made in the country by 50%, establishing connections between enterprises investing in the zone and the country to guarantee raw materials for manufacturing, at the same time, facilitating access to raw materials in neighboring markets and countries.

Speaking to The Hanoi Times, Cuban Ambassador to Vietnam Orlando Nicolás Hernández Guillén also said that there should be some necessary measures to safeguard Vietnamese investors amid headwinds in the Cuban financial system, which has been affected by the decades-long US embargo. He stated that Vietnam-Cuba solid ties are thought to have played a significant role in the smooth investment.

He said in the ZEDM, the first of its kind in Cuba, ViMariel S.A., a subsidiary of Vietnam’s Viglacera in Cuba, becomes the first 100% foreign-invested infrastructure company in Cuba. The operation of ViMariel S.A., which has been allowed to exploit this industrial zone for 50 years, bears so much meaning. Vietnamese investors have an advantage over their counterparts from other countries.

The Vietnamese delegation’s tour included the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), a prominent company in Cuban biotechnology, which develops, produces, markets, and exports innovative products, including plant products, vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, animal products, diagnostic tests, and the  Covid-19 vaccine Abdala, which was approved for commercial use in Cuba in July 2021.

Managed by BioCubaFarma, CIGB maintains its leadership as one of the companies with the greatest scientific-technical contribution to health, achieving a solid international position through cooperation, technology transfer, and export to China, India, Iran, and Vietnam.