Jamaican entrepreneurs explore opportunities for investment and trade in Cuba

Opportunities for investment and trade in Cuba were the topics for discussion at the ‘Cuba Demystified’ business forum hosted on Friday, December 4, 2015 by  JAMPRO,    PricewaterhouseCoopers  and NCB Capital Markets.

The forum, which featured international and local experts in the investment and    trade  fields, discussed the opportunities, challenges and procedures to do business in    the    Cuban market.

With the Cuban economy projected to grow by 5% in  2015, the private sector was   urged to take advantage of that economy’s gradual  liberalisation by exploiting     Jamaica’s special government-­‐to-­‐ government   relationship.   Primarily,   that   relationship includes special arrangements for financing with the  EXIM Bank, cooperation between the ports of Kingston  and  Mariel and the CARICOM-­‐Cuba Trade  &  Economic  Cooperation  Agreement, amongst other    benefits.

‘Cuba  Demystified’ also  explored the  processes needed to successfully export to the    Cuban market, the Jamaican products that are in demand in Cuba and the major    distributors in that market. Entrepreneurs were advised that succeeding in the Cuban   market required   sustained   interaction   and   participation   in    Cuban    trade    exhibitions.

Honourable G. Anthony Hylton, Minister of Industry, Investment  and     Commerce, stated that the Government has noted the challenges for companies to   export to Cuba, and said that funding was  an  important  factor  in increasing   the   export of  Jamaican products,

“The  Government, through the EXIM’s Bank facility with Cuba, greatly attenuates the risk of timely payment for goods traded  with  Cuba. However, the time has come to consider the expansion of this  line of credit  to include   services and to increase the volume of the credit line.”

He continued “Like you, however, I anxiously await the  day when the US embargo   against Cuba  is completely torn down. I will,therefore,continue to move the Resolution in our Parliament against the embargo on Cuba, just as I have done each   year   since   2007,during the  period of the vote in the United Nations    to    End    the    Embargo    Against    Cuba.”

Corporate   Jamaica   also     offered     their   support   for     the   initiative,     with   Wilfred   Baghaloo   Director   of   the    Advisory       Services     Department     of     PricewaterhouseCoopers     Jamaica     and     Steven     Gooden,     CEO     NCB    Capital    Markets    Limited    committing    to    assist    their    clients    with    targeting    Cuba.    Gooden    noted    that    NCBJ    has     intensified     its   focus   on   regional   expansion,   and     boosted     its   ability   to     provide   support   to   companies    both     locally   and     regionally   through     NCB     Capital   Markets   Limited.       Both     men     believed   that     all   Jamaican    companies    should    seek    to    grow    their    businesses    through     other  markets    and    that    it    was    time    to    take    on    the    challenges.

JAMPRO   has   undertaken   a   programme   of   initiatives   aimed     at   growing   Jamaica’s   presence   in     the   Cuban    market.     The   agency   will   be   continuing   its   Cuba   Market   Development   Plan,     and   is   building   strategic    partnerships    with    government    and    private    bodies    to    further    the    penetration    of    Brand    Jamaica    in    Cuba.

JAMPRO   has   undertaken   a   programme   of   initiatives   aimed     at   growing   Jamaica’s   presence   in     the   Cuban    market.     The   agency   will   be   continuing   its   Cuba   Market   Development   Plan,     and   is   building   strategic    partnerships    with    government    and    private    bodies    to    further    the    penetration    of    Brand    Jamaica    in    Cuba.

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