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Cuba to unveil new foreign investment law
Cuban parliament is scheduled to hold an extraordinary session in March 2014 to discuss a new foreign investment law, President Raul Castro announced here on Saturday.
Work is under way to elaborate the draft foreign investment law that is expected to be submitted to a meeting of the National Assembly (unicameral parliament) in March, said Castro at the closing session of the 612-member legislature that holds regular meetings twice a year -- in July and December.
The Cuban leader stressed the great importance of foreign investments in stimulating economic and social development of the island country, but he gave no more details about the new law.
The current foreign investment law was passed in 1995, allowing foreign companies to create joint ventures only with state-run companies.
At the closing session, Castro also announced that the first docks in the country's first special development zone are expected to be put into operation in January 2014.
Covering 465 square km, the special development zone is located at Cuba's Mariel Bay, 45 km west of Havana. With deep-water port facilities, Mariel Port is expected to become the largest container handling port in the Caribbean by 2015.
The Mariel development zone will serve as an attraction for foreign investments, and an experimental field for modern technologies and managerial experience, said Castro.
Companies settled at the Mariel area will enjoy tax exemption on profits for 10 years.
Castro also stressed that the creation of special development zones is included in the 300 "guidelines" of political, economic and social program approved by the Cuban Communist Party for bringing up to date the socialist model of the island.
He said that the reform process will continue "without hurry but without pause."
Since taking office in 2008, Raul Castro has pushed for more than 300 economic reforms, which were designed to pull the country out of a crisis dated to 1990.
[Source: Xinhua, Havana, 21Dec13]
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