In order to stimulate foreign trade in goods, Cuba is now implementing a strategy that seeks to boost exports of both traditional and new products.
In statements to Prensa Latina by the Director of Foreign Trade, Vivian Herrera, within the projection drawn up, the needs to export to new markets are set out and, for the pitfalls that have appeared in this area, there are alternatives and proposals that encourage sales abroad.
This policy includes an export strategy for medicines, which is an important and new sector and it should play an even more important role than it does today, Herrera said.
Also, she added, we bet on the diversification of certain goods such as charcoal, which has a relevant output.
This is a handmade product, it has very good acceptance in the market and an unsatisfied demand. In terms of exports, it represented nearly 30 million dollars last year.
In order to stimulate foreign trade, work is also being done on other measures such as allowing exporting companies to sell to 100% foreign entities located in the western Mariel Special Development Zone.
While this is not an export in its traditional sense, it is a revenue-generating border sale that would provide companies with profits for restocking, she said.
Other measures, she pointed out, should be implemented to further encourage the export of goods and services from the socialist state company which, in this endeavor, should also benefit from regulations that give it greater independence and favor its relations with non-state forms of management.
What we are foreseeing is that the companies that today carry out foreign trade will remain as the structures through which exports are wholesale, although we are studying the possibility that all the actors that can join this process will do so if they meet the necessary standards, she added.
We understand that in order to achieve an incentive to exports, in addition to a deeper market research, compliance with quality standards, making the necessary investments, entrepreneurs should have an export culture, said the official.
She emphasized that the fact that this exporting culture and this awareness is yet another element which we have been working on.
That’s why we trained export negotiation groups so that this process is a mutually advantageous transaction.
Herrera said that for the realization of this effort was formed a negotiating group composed of 33 colleagues from different companies for the experience that this structure provides for this type of negotiation.
In relation to the markets, he clarified, it is necessary that, once known, the places where the products could be placed are taken advantage of, if there are customs preferences or if there is any type of commercial agreement with the country.
To achieve diversification of sales destinations, Herrera considered that efforts are being made to recover some of Eastern Europe. With Belarus, for example, compensated trade agreements were established through which Cuban products can be sold and others that are produced there, such as heavy machinery, can be bought.
Within the bet to take advantage of all the Cuban export potentialities, the directive maintained that it is trying to get exporters and producers to dialogue directly so that everyone is aware of what the market demands and how national productions behave.
It is also intended that producers obtain the greatest benefits from export earnings, she said. If the producer does not have a monetary incentive, not only for his enjoyment, but to reproduce, because he cannot innovate or develop.
During the last 10 years, she acknowledged, the export matrix was invested 80 percent for services and 20 percent for goods.
For this reason, she said, it is important to diversify export products and, based on this, provincial governments are working together with exporters and producers to develop new exportable items.
(Taken from PL in Spanish)