President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc (front, right) receives Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz in Havana on September 20 (local time). — VNS/VNS Photo
HAVANA — Việt Nam will promote investment projects in the Mariel Special Development Zone in practical fields serving the development and daily needs of Cuban people, especially production of essential goods, high-tech industry and infrastructure development, President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has said.
The President made the statement at a reception in Havana on the morning of September 20 (local time) for Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz and leaders of the Mariel Special Development Zone.
At the meeting, the two sides discussed potential and advantages of the zone in the western province of Artemisa Province of Cuba.
Diaz warmly welcomed President Phuc's visit to Cuba, saying it opened up many cooperation opportunities in investment, trade and economy between businesses of the two countries.
Emphasising the potential and advantages of the zone, the minister said that this special economic zone had achieved many positive results in recent years, offering good conditions for attracting foreign investment and high-tech projects to Cuba, thus promoting the country’s export activities in the future.
Cuba issued a law permitting foreign investment in the over-400,000-hectare development zone, which has attracted projects in biotechnology, pharmaceutical production, consumer goods manufacturing, banking, construction and some other sectors. The zone offers an attractive tax exemption policy for investors and handles procedures under the single-window model in just 60 days.
So far, the Mariel Special Development Zone has approved 59 projects, 34 of which have become operational, worth over US$3 billion in total from 21 countries. Among these projects, three are invested by Việt Nam.
Leaders of the zone expressed their hope for more investment projects from Việt Nam on the basis of the two countries’ special traditional friendship and many cooperation agreements signed in the judicial, trade, and financial areas.
President Phúc noted with satisfaction that Việt Nam and Cuba had just finished negotiations and signed an official contract under which Việt Nam would buy 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Cuba. He described this as a particularly important achievement marking the comprehensive success of his official visit to Cuba.
The Vietnamese leader said Cuba’s building of a special economic zone, industrial park, and processing area was in line with the common trend of countries worldwide.
He lauded Vietnamese firms’ investment in the special development zone despite the distance and expressed his delight at the fact that Việt Nam is the second biggest foreign investor in Cuba.
President Phúc expected that Cuba would invest more in the zone’s infrastructure and offer a flexible and preferential investment policy to attract more investors. Favourable and simple administrative procedures to create the best possible conditions for investors would be needed, he added.
Visiting leading biotechnology centre
President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc witnessed the signing ceremony of cooperation between Việt Nam and Cuba. — VNA/VNS Photo Thống Nhất
President Phúc on the same day visited the Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) in Havana as part of his official visit to Cuba.
Established in 1986, the CIGB is a leading biotechnology centre of Cuba. It has successfully researched and produced five types of vaccines against COVID-19, including Abdala, making Cuba the first and only Latin American-Caribbean country to research and produce its own COVID-19 vaccines.
According to Deputy Minister of Health Trần Văn Thuấn, during the President's visit, the health ministries of Việt Nam and Cuba have reached agreements on eight cooperation areas in research, training, technology transfer and production of medicines.
At the CIGB, President Phúc witnessed the signing of an agreement between the CIGB and the Centre for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals (POLYVAC) under the Vietnamese Ministry of Health on purchasing 5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Cuba. Businesses of both sides also signed deals on the transfer of Soberana 2 COVID-19 vaccine.
He expressed his hope that the healthcare partnership between the two countries would continue to grow effectively to match the sound relations between the two sides. — VNS