From the 17D there have not only increased visits by international celebrities to Cuba (Rihanna, Paris Hilton, Naomi Campbell, Natalie Portman), also there have come diplomats and businessmen.
Perhaps, one of the best ways to appreciate the opening of the island is by paying attention to changes in the economy. Currently, the government is committed to a policy of foreign investment to help revitalize the sector and the contact with representatives of foreign companies is of specific interest.
Recently, a group headed by Peter J. Tichansky group, president and CEO of Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) -, and composed of Brett Hale, the company Yum! Brands; Roland Verstappen, the Heineken Brewery and other executives met with executives of the National Corporation Cuba Ron SA. In the meeting participated Yanosky Calderín, Vice Minister of Food Industry, and representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Trade.
The meeting on 13 January, had as main objective to present to Americans the latest version of the business portfolio and opportunities that Cuba offers to foreign investors. At the headquarters of Cuba Ron, located in Havana, they talked based on the existing legal framework in the country, which is published in the Official Gazette No. 20 118 2014 where the law on these matters appears.
The leader company in the rum production in the country is, along with the Food Corporation SA Coralsa, one of the companies in the food industry with greater possibilities of economic partnership in the new context. Cuba Ron proposed to collaborate in the production of the Perla del Norte brand, born in the cellars of Cardenas, Matanzas province. The business, with an initial cost of 27 million dollars, would boost a drink based on the famous and old rum Arechabalas.
As Juan Gonzalez said, president of the corporation, Perla del Norte is a brand made "with old Arechabalas barrels because masters of rum never left Cuba." The factory, located near the famous Varadero resort, has "great appeal since soon the tradition to reach the place by boat and visit the wineries founded in 1878 will be retaken," said the manager.
There are half a million boxes produced. However, Cuba Ron aims at duplicating that amount. It is also developing new products in the Rum Factory El Valle, in Pinar del Río province.
Another proposed elixir for investment was Cubay rum produced in the municipality of Santo Domingo, Villa Clara province. The project, with an estimated value of $ 24 million, respects tradition dating back to 1870 and now has a capacity of two million boxes.
Meanwhile, Peter J. Tichansky investigated about the qualities that would interest the Cubans to find in potential foreign partners. In this regard, González explained that these should provide positioning, and exemplified with Havana Club International, with Pernod Ricard distributed in 140 countries.
"We must have market domination, because sometimes a bank comes and want to do business, but we need a distributor. All our brands (great Havana Club, Santiago de Cuba, Cubay, and others like Varadero and Caney) have already started their exports. Nevertheless, we now focus on Asia and Latin America, "he said.
The new foreign investment proposals must move an approval process in which knowledge technology, technical assistance, financing is evaluated... The Vice Minister of Food Industry, Yanosky Calderín noted that "there are conditions to decide, for the time of the agreement, involving other agencies of the central leadership of the state governing various policies, including those related to achieving sustainable development ".
The businessmen expressed their intention to include in the draft exchange measures for the environment and health care. Maura Blue Jeffords, director of Diageo North America, praised the inclusion of such issues in business, unlike other countries that do not support talking about it.
They were in favor of the repeal of the US blockade on the island. Peter Tichansky asserted that the companies present there wanted to find "a way to work, cooperate in both investments and other projects. The BCIU organization intends to include more companies and sectors, because we want to see the changes of that investment policy take effect in a few years, adapting to new scenarios. "
Mariel Development Special Area offers new investors several benefits by the characteristics of the town and port conditions with special regulations that make it interesting, and different from other parts of the country. For this reason, American executives evaluated the stage as a competitive advantage demonstrating that Cuba is open and it can become a kind of focus on this part of the world.
Calderín categorized the meeting as a positive exchange. For the official website of Cuba Ron, he confirmed that "all these dialogues are marked by the blockade and one of the intentions of these meetings is to promote its repeal. Having it removed, we will have other opportunities for exchange, and we can ensure a very important part of the negotiation; as well as the resources needed for the industry. "
"If the blockade is broken we can trade with any country, but we want to ensure we do it in the more consistent way, having a special consideration in investments to those who have helped us. We respect the nations that have stayed with us in the revolutionary process. " he said.
Referring to the rums, Vice Minister of Food Industry, said that these drinks have "more possibilities, they are flagship products, where the market is guaranteed. This is one of their potential ".
In exclusive statements to this website Tichansky said he was very honored to participate in the meeting and identify who their potential partners are. "We are evaluating the proposals, but we are very happy to be here and we hope to return," he said.
During the meeting the Coralsa group, created in 1995 and which covers nine joint ventures (Bucanero SA, Bravo SA, CORACAN SA, Los Portales SA, Stelas SA, Papas and Company SA, among others) also exhibited a wide range of food and derivatives, namely stuffed fresh pasta, dressing sauces, candies, soft drinks, soy flour, breakfast cereals, jams, soy sauce. In addition, enforcements at pig breeding, processing of fruits and vegetables, coffee roasting, refrigeration equipment, developing of the fishing industry and others were evaluated.