Cuba is interested in creating a Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) industrial park in the island’s special economic zone, the country’s prime minister, Manuel Marrero Cruz, announced on Friday.
The proposed industrial park may be established in the Mariel province on a 50-hectare (123-acre) plot of land, including a port, 45km (27 miles) away from Havana. The Caribbean nation has offered to lend the plot to the EEU for 50 years, with an opportunity to prolong the deed.
Speaking at a meeting of the EEU intergovernmental council, Marrero Cruz said that the creation of this platform could be a “demonstration of joint efforts to create production chains leading to the kind of interregional integration that we strive for in a multipolar world.”
The Russia-led EEU currently brings together five post-Soviet countries, namely Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. Cuba has been actively cooperating with the bloc for several years already, becoming a full-fledged observer at the EEU back in 2020.
Cuba first came up with the idea last year, suggesting that establishing this industrial park would make the Cuban market more accessible for companies from the EEU nations and open up the markets of other Latin American countries.
Under the proposed initiative, the economic group will be able to set up manufacturing at the industrial park, make direct investments, strike up deals, and so forth.
Several companies from Russia and Belarus are already represented at Mariel. Foreign entrepreneurs operating in the special economic zone are provided with tax and customs preferences designed to encourage investment and the localization of production in Cuba.
Moscow and Havana have been close economic partners since the days of the Soviet Union, and saw bilateral trade triple last year. Trade turnover between Russia and Cuba has surged ninefold in the first four months of the year, compared to 2022, according to official data released this week.