Cuba plans to allow some foreign investment in local wholesale and retail trade for the first time since Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution in a bid to dig out of the island nation's worst economic crisis in decades.
Deputy Trade Minister Ana Teresita Gonzalez said on a TV talk show that foreign investors would be allowed to fully own local wholesalers for the first time or enter the market through joint ventures. Retail would be more restricted but she opened the door to some public/private ventures in that sector as well.
The reforms would allow foreign-owned entities to invest in warehouse and back-end logistics operations supplying state-run and private businesses, for example, supporting the country's effort to improve efficiency in its notoriously unproductive retail sector.
Gonzalez also said Cuba would "selectively" allow some foreign investors into the retail market, provided the investment contributed to the country's socialist goals and lowered prices.
The incremental measures come as Cuba struggles to redefine its largely closed, state-run economy after two years of pandemic woes and blanket US sanctions that have stymied recovery.
Rising discontent over long lines for basic goods, fuel shortages and rolling blackouts have prompted Communist party officials to fast-track long-delayed plans to reform the Soviet-style state-run economy.
The Cuban official said Monday evening the goal was to get more raw materials and goods into the hands of producers and consumers on the island.