Los principales dirigentes del país realizaron una visita de control a la Zona Especial de Desarrollo Mariel. Foto: Tomada de Presidencia Cuba.

Cuba has approved 62 businesses in the Mariel Special Development Zone

The Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM), the star project of the Cuban government to attract foreign capital, currently has 62 approved businesses for a committed investment amount of more than 3 billion dollars, the island’s state media reported this Sunday. .

These data were known during a meeting to check the works in the area, held the day before and headed by the president, Miguel Díaz-Canel; former president Raúl Castro and senior government officials.

The general director of the ZEDM, Ana Teresa Igarza, indicated that, of those 62 approved businesses, 56 are already in operation and specified that more than 1,000 million dollars of the amount of investments have already been executed, according to the Cuban Agency for News (ACN).

“The Mariel Special Development Zone is progressing, there is much more experience, it is going well and we will make every effort to keep it that way,” said Army General Raúl Castro Ruz in statements collected by Cubadebate.

In the strategic economic enclave -located 45 kilometers west of Havana- there are 21 countries, 11 multinationals; and more than 15,000 jobs have been generated, detailed the directive.

Among the established companies are Richmeat (Mexico), dedicated to the manufacture of sausages; Profood Service (Spain), supplier of food and beverages for the hotel sector; Servicios Logísticos Mariel (Cuba), BrasCuba Cigarrillos, a joint venture between Brazil and Cuba, and others from Belgium, Holland, Vietnam and Italy.

The ZEDM’s pillar industries are concentrated in logistics services, biotechnology, the biopharmaceutical industry and advanced manufacturing, Igarza said.

For its economic development, Cuba needs to attract some 2.5 billion dollars in direct foreign investment annually, mainly in key sectors such as industry, agri-food, tourism, mining, biotechnology, oil and renewable energy.

The ZEDM -presented at the end of 2013 and the first of its kind created on the island- is the business center and merchant port where the Cuban government plans to locate a large part of these projects.

According to Osvaldo Bravo, head of the Engineering Services Company of the Mariel Comprehensive Project Management, 50 investments have been completed in the Zone and another 21 are underway.

The Special Zone today has roads, a railway line to speed up the transport of goods and benefits for users that include electricity, water, sewage, drainage, bottled gas, telecommunications and broadband internet services.

Special regimes and policies are applied in this area, with the aim of promoting sustainable economic development through the attraction of foreign investment, technological innovation and industrial concentration, with a view to increasing exports, the effective substitution of imports.

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