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    Cuba restructures external debt

    Cuba restructures external debt
    By Larry Moonze in Havana, Cuba
    Fri 04 Nov. 2011, 08:50 CAT [246 Reads, 0 Comment(s)]

    CUBA has informed businessmen attending the Havana International Trade
    Fair it has restructured its external debt and gradually regaining its
    international credit worthiness.

    Opening the 29th FIHAV attended by some 1,500 companies from 57
    countries across the globe, Cuban foreign trade and foreign investments
    minister Rodrigo Malmierca said given continued expansion of exports and
    decreased imports Cuba as President Raul Castro stated before the
    National Assembly in August this year would by the year-end resolve her
    external debt troubles.

    "We are working hard in such a way that the country gradually regains
    international credibility of the Cuban economy," Malmierca said.

    He said at the close of the third quarter of 2011 the exchange of the
    country's goods grew by 27 per cent compared to the same period last
    year and that exports indicated similar exchange growth dynamics.

    Malmierca said export of professional services continued recording an
    upward trend thereby helping economic growth dyanamics.

    "During the first half of 2011 the economy grew by 1.9 per cent as
    compared to last year and we estimate that at the close of the year we
    shall obtain a gross domestic product growth of 2.9 per cent which helps
    us to emphasise that even though shortages persist in certain sectors
    measures are being taken to overcome errors in planning and in the lack
    of an overall concept in the performance of the national economy," he said.

    Malmierca said implementation of the economic reform guidelines passed
    by the Communist Party of Cuba congress in April was a complex task in
    which the country was currently engaged.

    He said the country was in the process of drawing the legal and
    institutional basis for the application of the structural, functional
    and economic amendments contained in the reform report.

    Malmierca said there were some 300 guidelines corresponding directly to
    activities of foreign trade, debt and loans, foreign investments,
    cooperation and economic integration.

    He said the common objective was to achieve the greatest economic
    efficiency and as such it was be necessary for Cuban companies to work
    with great agility.

    Malmierca said national energy saving efficiency improved, crude oil
    production increased, sugar production picked up and Cuba recorded a
    significant tourist arrivals.

    He said in 2010, Cuba received 2.5 million tourists and expected to
    close 2011 with some 2.7 million visitors.

    Malmierca said Cuba was giving priority to the selling of products or
    integral solutions bearing in mind "the elevated educational level of
    our country and the scientific and technological growth in sectors of
    high specialisation which are in demand throughout the world such as
    health, pharmaceutical industry, genetic engineering and biotechnology."

    He said Cuba now had conditions to export integral solutions for
    treating serious health problems such as complications caused by
    diabetes mellitus using a Cuban drugs.

    On investments, Malmierca said Cuba would promote creation of special
    economic development zones that could meet the need for increased
    exports, effective replacement of imports, high technology projects and
    those that contributed to creation of new job sources.

    "For that reason we shall keep in mind international experiences and our
    own errors in the past when establishing duty free areas," he said.

    "We shall go on encouraging the participation of foreign capital as a
    compliment to the national effort towards meeting short, medium and
    long-term economic and social growth and for that reason we shall
    improve regulations and procedures for assessment, approval and
    instrumentation of participation of foreign investment gradually making
    the process smoother."

    Malmierca said this year FIHAV was the biggest in the last 10 years.
    "We are inaugurating the 29th FIHAV edition with the presence of some
    1,500 companies from 57 countries and with an exhibition area of more
    than 13,000 square metres accounting for 10 per cent larger than last
    year and the largest fair in the last decade," Malmierca said.

    He said it was sad the large presence of foreign businessmen at the fair
    show confidence in the Cuban economy and the great potential existing in
    spite of the continued US blockade against the island to do mutually
    advantageous business.

    Malmierca said just like last year the international economic crisis had
    continued to dramatically affecting Cuba's economic performance
    especially because of the rise in prices of some key imports such as
    He said Cuba also suffered from effects of climate change.

    Malmierca said climate change had generated drought that had in turn
    damaged Cuba's economy particularly agricultural production.

    "The economic crisis and climate change has aggravated the problems
    arising from the US imposed blockade given its extraterritorial nature,"
    he said.

    The Cuban report before the United Nations General Assembly that was
    voted on last week on Tuesday places Cuban economic losses from the 50
    years of US embargo at US $975 billion.

    The direct economic damage between 2009 up to December 2010 is said to
    exceed US $104 billion.