Rodrigo Malmierca notes impact of new coronavirus on tourism and imports
Apr 30, 2020
by OnCuba Staff
In the Mesa Redonda television program, Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca noted that the World Trade Organization predicted a contraction of between 13 and 22% in 2020. ECLAC, he said, predicted a contraction of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Latin America and the Caribbean only comparable to the Great Depression of the 1930s. This is going to have an impact on mainly the indicators of poverty and food, he said.
He underlined that in Cuba the effects of the new coronavirus will be visible, especially in tourism, one of the main economic items, and that this will affect national income. “One of the main export services of the island is tourism, and we are already seeing how, not only in Cuba, but internationally, it has contracted,” he said.
“Added to this are the effects of the intensification of the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States, which constitutes the main obstacle to the country’s development,” he said.
He reported that there will also be problems in imports. A group of products that Cuba needs are being kept by the producing nations for their own benefit. “We will try to avoid, in the case of food, the effects on the population,” and he pointed out that there have been increases in the prices of powdered milk (15%) and rice (18%), two highly demanded products by Cubans.
Cuba, he said, is working to substitute imports, especially food and energy, and is trying to reinforce foreign direct investment. “In the first months of this year, new projects worth more than 600 million dollars of committed capital have been approved, and more than 1 billion dollars in already advanced projects are being negotiated,” he said.
He highlighted the potential of the biopharmaceutical industry, which exports medicines such as Interferon Alfa 2B, and also highlighted medical services.