Cuba approves law aimed at attracting foreign investment

The law approved on Saturday was described as "crucial" by President Raul Castro (left)
Cuban parliament on Saturday approved a new foreign investment law aimed at attracting badly needed capital through tax cuts, a measure officials said was vital for the development of the island country.
Lawmakers approved the new measures in an extraordinary session Saturday.
The law cuts taxes on profits in half and exempts many foreign investors from the personal income tax.
The measure also exempts new businesses from paying taxes during their first eight years of operation.
Cuba\’s minister in charge of economic reform, Marino Murillo, said the country needs at least $2 billion a year from foreign investors to reach its goal of 5 percent annual economic growth or better.
The more than five-decade long U.S. economic embargo of Cuba bars American from investing there.
The government in Havana opened the island to foreign capital in 1995.
But in recent years, Cuba has seen a fall in foreign investment and moderate economic growth. The economy grew by 2.7% in 2013, well below the government\’s 7% target.
Cuba\’s economy is seen as highly centralised and inefficient, but almost 500,000 Cubans now have licences to operate small, private businesses.
Source – Agencies
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