Reporters Notebook: Havana’s doors open to global economy

Global Business

Another major development for the U.S. economy in 2014 had to do with its Caribbean neighbor to the south, Cuba. CCTV America’s Michael Voss reported this story from Havana.

2014 ended with the historic announcement that Cuba and the United States have agreed to put aside their differences and restore diplomatic relations.

But the year was also marked by loosening of economic controls and opening Cuba’s doors to the global economy.

In January, a new Brazilian financed deep-water container port opened at Mariel near Havana. A Special Development Zone is also under construction around the port.

In March, Cuba passed a new foreign investment law with tax and other incentives including allowing for 100 percent foreign ownership. A number of companies have expressed an interest in building factories in Havana, but so far no one has signed up.

Cuban President Raul Castro has made it clear that Cuba is not about to change politically or become a free-market economy like China or Vietnam.

The U.S. trade embargo still stands but President Barack Obama said that he would allow U.S. sales and investments to improve telecommunications and the Internet.

The emerging private sector could also benefit as Washington makes it easier for them to receive financial help and investment from relatives and others in the United States.

Most Cubans are looking forward to 2015 with hope and anticipation that improved relations with the United States will help boost the economy and improve living standards. It could take some time and there are likely some very difficult negotiations with Washington along the way.