Spanish companies to expand operations in Cuba

    14 de junio de 2018

    Havana, Jun 14 (efe-epa).- Executives of the roughly 250 Spanish companies operating in Cuba said here Thursday that they intend to overcome the financial difficulties they face in the Caribbean country to maintain their privileged position on the communist island.

    "Cuba is an up-and-coming country and market," Spanish Chamber of Commerce international director Alfredo Bonet told EFE on the sidelines of the 22nd Spanish-Cuban Business Committee conference. "When it finally integrates into the global market, Spanish companies have to be first in line."

    Participants explored various ways to overcome "the financial difficulties faced over the past two years," specifically the debt owed to these private companies by Cuba's public sector, bilateral committee co-chair Jaime Garcia-Legaz said.

    "The Cuban government is doing everything it can to make the payments," said Garcia-Legaz, adding that Cuba's recent crisis stemming from the turmoil shaking Venezuela - the island's main partner in the region - over the past few years "does not help."

    In an effort to right the situation, Spain has developed an assortment of financial instruments over the past two years, including credit lines - which aim to internationalize small and mid-sized firms - and a parity fund created with the $400 million of Cuban debt that Spain forgave in 2015.

    The fund "has made it possible to co-finance investments by Spanish companies to help them underwrite all they can in the local currency," Bonet added.

    The meetings held by the bilateral committee are the main connecting link between Spanish businessmen and Cuban authorities.

    Spain is the island's third commercial partner, after China and Venezuela.