Brazil providing financial and legal support for Cuba’s new Port of Mariel Special Development Zone

[GBP Note:  The following two articles provide a nice overview of how Brazil is helping develop the Port of Mariel Special Development Zone in Cuba.]

From the Cuba Standard
Brazil offers legal assistance for free trade zone

Trying to pave the way for participation by Brazilian companies in a high-profile pilot project in Cuba, the Brazilian government is offering assistance in the creation of a legal framework for the special development zone at the port of Mariel.

“We have a lot of interest in cooperating in the definition of this model, in order to bring in the biggest possible number of Brazilian companies,” Brazil’s Foreign Trade Minister Fernando Pimentel said during a tour of Mariel Aug. 30.

Cuban Foreign Trade and Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca said during the Mariel tour with Pimentel that his country, in addition to Brazil’s legal expertise, is interested in “more integration” between Cuban and Brazilian companies, according to the Brazilian ministry of development, industry and foreign trade. “We are offering technology transfer in exchange for investment in plants, and Mariel could serve this purpose,” Malmierca said, according to a press release by the Brazilian ministry.

The port, 30 miles east of Havana, is the heart of a planned “Special Development Zone,” a 180-square mile agro-industrial complex that is the biggest of a series of free-trade areas planned by the Cuban government to promote exports. The zones, allowing companies to benefit from less red tape and simplified customs procedures, are part of a government effort to convince more foreign investors to produce high value-added goods and service exports in Cuba.

Click here for full article and map in the Cuba Standard

[GBP Note:  the following article is a year old but it gives some background to the financial support given to the port by Brazil.]

Port of Mariel Cuba to be the largest industrial port in the Caribbean

Posted July 19, 2011
The Havana Journal

Mariel Cuba is about 28 miles west of Havana and is the largest port on the northern coast of Cuba, second only to the Port of Havana.

Currently the port is undergoing a massive expansion in association with the International Economic Association and the Brazilian company Odebrecht. Brazil is financing the entire project and so far $400 million in financing has been disbursed and $200 million of the promised $800 million has been approved.

The first stage of this massive port development project, expected to be completed in 2014, involves the construction of 700 meters of docks and will allow access for ships with drafts of up to nearly 40 feet.

At the same time, an integrated system of highway and railroad infrastructure is being built in Mariel along with the opening of a technical school that will offer training in several specialties related to the expanded port facilities. Before the Cuban revolution, the area was accessible by plane but the paved runway is now a storage area for cargo containers.

Cuban President Raul Castro and former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, toured the facilities under construction in June then watched this promotional video about the current and future development of Mariel.

Click here for full article with photos and video in the Havana Journal

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