Posted on Saturday, 03.29.14
Cuban lawmakers weigh key foreign investment law
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
HAVANA -- Cuban lawmakers meet in Havana on Saturday for an
extraordinary session on a proposed law that seeks to make it more
attractive for foreign investors to do business in and with the country.
Expected to be approved by the more than 600 deputies, the bill would
replace Cuba's 1995 foreign investment law which has lured less overseas
capital than the island's Communist leaders had hoped, contributing to
sluggish economic growth.
Some details of the legislation emerged in official media in recent
days. Among other things, it would cut taxes on profits by about half,
to 15 percent, and make companies exempt from paying taxes for the first
eight years of operation.
An exception for companies that work in the exploitation of natural
resources, such as nickel or fossil fuels, would establish taxation
rates in such cases as high as 50 percent.
Meanwhile, many foreigners doing business with the island would be
exempt from paying personal income tax.
Wholly foreign-owned investment projects would be explicitly allowed,
something that in practice is essentially unheard of here.
Foreign investment will reportedly be allowed in all sectors except
health care and education.
The investment law is a fundamental part of President Raul Castro's
package of reforms, begun in 2008 with the stated goal of "updating"
Cuba's economic model.
Hundreds of thousands of Cubans are now legally working independently of
the state in a nascent private sector, though authorities say they are
not abandoning socialism.
The body usually meets twice a year, in July and December. Castro
announced Saturday's extraordinary session late last year.
Foreign media were not invited to attend the closed-door gathering.
Source: HAVANA: Cuban lawmakers weigh key foreign investment law -
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