Cuba at a glance > Business Environment
OVERVIEW OF BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT
Business opportunities in Cuba are promoted through a diverse Portfolio of Opportunities prepared by MINCEX and approved by the Council of Ministers, and published on a yearly basis, which will offer general information on every sector or activity and will provide investors with the key elements of the projects prioritized in the country.
The sectors considered priorities are agriculture and forestry, the pharmaceutical and biotechnological fields, the food, sugar, light, chemical, electronic, iron, steel, and machine industries, as well as tourism, transportation, health care, construction, energy and mines, and wholesale trade.
According to Article 11.1 of Law No. 118, foreign investment may be authorized in all sectors except for:
- The health care services for the Cuban population, excluding their business systems.
- The education services for the Cuban population, excluding their business systems.
- The armed forces, excluding their business systems.
- According to the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, the press, the radio, the television, the film industry and other mass media following media shall never become private property.
ESTABLISHMENT OF BUSINESSES IN CUBA
At the moment of deciding on a foreign investment project that could be of economic interest for Cuba, foreign investors could select the project included in the Portfolio of Opportunities that would be the most compatible with their economic interests and possibilities. Alternatively, other regulations apply should the company not fall under the Portfolio of Opportunities.
- In order to establish an international economic association, domestic investors must negotiate with foreign investors every aspect of the investment, including its economic feasibility, their respective contributions as appropriate, the management and administration form of the association, as well as the relevant legal documents for its formalization (article 19.1 of Law No. 118).
- In the case of a totally foreign capital company, MINCEX shall indicate the foreign investor the Cuban entity in charge of the branch, sub-branch or economic activity in which he intends to invest, and with which he must analyze his proposal and obtain the relevant written authorization (article 19.2 of Law No. 118).
Numerous documents are required for the formation and registration of a business in Cuba. For more information, visit www.investincuba.com
INCENTIVES AND GUARANTEES FOR INVESTORS
Chapter III of Law No.118 stipulates the following:
- Foreign investments shall enjoy protection and security and cannot be expropriated, unless such action is executed for reasons of public or social interest, in accordance with the Constitution, the international treaties signed by Cuba and the legislation in force, with appropriate compensation for their commercial value established by mutual agreement.
- The State shall guarantee the free transfer abroad, in freely convertible currency, free from taxes or any other fees, of the dividends or profits obtained by the foreign investor.
- Foreign investments in the country shall be protected against legal claims by third parties or the extraterritorial implementation of other states laws, according to the Cuban laws and the rulings issued by Cuban courts.
- The foreign investor can sell or transfer his rights to the State, the parties of the economic association or to a third party, provided this is previously authorized by the government.
- Foreign investment shall be subject to the special tax regime established in the Act until the deadline for this special tax regime is due.
- The Cuban state shall guarantee that the benefits granted to foreign investors and their investments are maintained during the whole period for which they were granted.
- The term of the authorization granted for the development of operations may be extended by the very authority that granted it, provided that such extension is requested by the parties concerned before the set deadline expires.
SPECIAL TAX REGIMEN
Joint ventures and foreign and national investors, which are parties to international economic association agreements, are subject to the clauses of Law No. 118 Foreign Investment Act,s, which stipulates the following facilities, among other aspects:
- Foreign investors shall be exempt from paying personal income taxes for the business dividends or profits.
- The profit tax shall be paid by applying a 15 % tax rate on the net taxable profit.
- Investors shall be exempt from paying profit taxes for a period of eight years as from the date of their incorporation.
- Investors shall be exempt from paying profit taxes when the reinvestment of net profits and other benefits is authorized.
- There shall be 50% discount on the tax rate applicable to the tax on wholesales and services. There shall also be an exemption from paying this tax during the first year of operations.
- Investors shall be exempt from paying taxes on the use of labor force.
- Investors shall be exempt from paying customs duties for the import of equipment, machinery and other means during the investment process.