Cuba has revealed that it plans to eliminate its dual currency system as it seeks to put in place a transparent and stable regulatory framework in order to attract foreign investment.
“Private and foreign companies can operate with their property rights secure,” stated Cuba’s Finance Minister Lina Pedraza Rodríguez at a meeting with global business leaders organized by the World Economic Forum.
The government is negotiating with its foreign creditors and moving to eliminate its dual currency system, Rodríguez added.
Cuban law now permits foreigners to fully own businesses and all of those businesses’ assets. Although the government has retained much say in the country’s economic affairs, investors are free to sell property and repatriate profits.
Deborah Rivas, the General Director of Cuba’s Foreign Investment Bureau, told the business leaders at the forum that the government is doing everything it can to give “legal certainty to foreign investors.”
U.S. technology firms are waiting in the wings to invest in Cuba, but the communist country appears keen on drawing investment in agriculture, because the country currently spends heavily on food imports.
Even though all land belongs to the state, private investors can acquire 99-year leases and own everything built on and produced by the land.
So far Mexico has been the biggest investor in Cuba, having invested in about 50 projects on the island.
According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, U.S. exports to Cuba are only worth a few million dollars per year, with imports at practically zero.
“The stock of direct investment from all foreign countries in Cuba might reach US$17 billion compared to $1 billion today,” stated the Institute in a recent note published on its site.