The extraordinary session, called by the Council of State to analyze the bill, was attended by President Raul Castro, as well as by Communist Party leaders and government officials.
Lawmakers insisted on the need to attract foreign capital to sectors of special importance to the country, particularly those related to production, always based the principle of protecting natural resources and the country’s national sovereignty.
The new Cuban foreign investment law offers guarantees to investors such as the free transfer abroad of profits in convertible currency, tax exemptions on net profits and other benefits authorized for reinvestment.
Speaking to the Cuban Parliament, Foreign Investment and Trade Minister Rodrigo Malmierca said that the new law states that properties acquired in Cuba by foreign investors in the areas of production and services cannot be expropriated except in cases of public or social interest previously declared by the Cuban government.
In such cases, any expropriation would imply appropriate compensation according to established commercial value and by mutual agreement between the investors and Cuba, Malmierca pointed out.
Cuban Government Vice-President Marino Murillo said that the new Foreign Investment Law is necessary to begin speaking of development and not only of economic growth and its appropriate implementation does not mean giving away the country in pieces.
Addressing lawmakers, Murillo, who heads the Permanent Commission for the Implementation and Development of the Economic and Social Guidelines approved by the Communist Party said that in order to achieve greater economic growth, the country must increase its Gross Domestic Product by seven percent annually, with investment rates of up to 20 percent , which requires external financing not available to the country at this time.
Murillo said that Cuba currently dedicates most of its created wealth to local consumption and a smaller portion to investment. This reality confirms the need for a new foreign investment law, in tune with the economic guidelines, he noted.
The government vice-president said that as the bill states, the participation of foreign capital complements the country’s investment efforts and it will continue to be so in global terms, though for some sectors foreign investment will be crucial.
Speaking at the Assembly, Fernando Gonzalez, one of the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters imprisoned in U.S. jails since 1998, expressed on behalf of his comrades his gratitude to the national and world solidarity movements for their support of the cause and his return home.
The Cuban Parliament elected through secret and direct vote two new members to the country’s Council of State, the body representing the Assembly between sessions.
The general secretary of the Cuban Workers’ Confederation, Ulises Guilarte, and the president of the Small Farmers’ Association, Rafael Ramon Santiesteban were elected to the Council of State during the First Extraordinary Session of the Cuban legislative body.(Taken from Granma International)