By Larry Moonze in Havana | PostZambia.com

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 dynamics.

“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 emphasize 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 specialization 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.

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

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