Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) are listed questions and answers, all commonly asked and pertaining to a particular topic, the Special Economic Development Zone of Mariel.

In comparison with the Free Zones established in Cuba in the 1990s, what are the differences in the Special Economic Development Zone of Mariel?

The Special Economic Development Zone of Mariel is a zone within Cuban national territory that is not delimited with customs demarcation. It is a zone where special regimes and policies are applied for the objective of promoting sustainable economic development by attracting foreign investment, technological innovation and industrial concentration, with a view to increasing exports, effectively replacing imports and generating new sources of employment, in constant combination with the domestic economy. Since this is not a Free Zone for the processing of merchandise, there are no quotas requiring that producers established in the Zone set proportions or mandatory limits of sales destined for local markets and for exportation.

Mainly what kinds of companies are going to be concentrated in the Zone?

Encouraging the transfer of cutting-edge technology is among the Zone’s objectives, not exactly high-tech or state of the art technology, but necessarily implying the use or transmission of clean technologies. This leads to Cuba’s technological updating, to the Zone’s environmental sustainability and subsequently to the Zone’s efficient operation with positive impact on the rest of the country. Attending to the foregoing and also considering the defined jobs for each of the areas making up Sector “A” where work is already going on, it is inferred that the priority should be given to companies working intensively with clean or high technologies.

What will relations between the companies inside the Zone and those outside be like?

With no border limits, both the enterprises inside the Zone and those outside are on national territory, therefore relations between them will be typical inter-enterprise relations with contracts serving as the instrument for regulating work between the two.

Is there any restriction or law determining how many Cubans and foreigners may work in the joint enterprises in the Zone?

There are no regulations establishing the proportion of Cubans and foreigners who may work in a joint enterprise or in any of the types of foreign investments. Like all countries, Cuba supports the practice of covering positions for specialists and for other categories by nationals whenever possible, taking into account the case of Cuba where there are many highly qualified workers. Managerial positions or those for which there is no qualified Cuban personnel may be covered by foreign personnel. One has to keep in mind that one of the objectives for creating the Zone is the generation of employment.

What is the percentage that must be paid in order to maintain the Zone’s development fund?

Concessionaires and Users will contribute to the formation of a Development Fund for maintenance of the Office and its common areas; there will be a quarterly payment of 0.5 % of gross revenues in each trimester, in the operational currency of the enterprise. When Concessionaires and Users have no revenues in a business year, they will make an annual contribution to the Fund of 600 Cuban convertible pesos.

What infrastructure does the Zone have?

A modern container terminal is already being exploited with 702 metres of docks, having the capacity and services to handle Super-Post-Panamax vessel operations, with modern equipment having a high level of automation for container handling, warehousing, connections and monitoring. The terminal is managed by PSA of Singapore, classified as one of the principal port operators in the world. There is a new roads network permitting inter-connections between the Zone and the Havana-Pinar del Rio Throughway and the Pan-American Highway. Construction is rapidly being carried out on railroad lines and on repairing and extending other existing rail lines, thereby permitting the Zone to connect with the national railway network in order to guarantee moving merchandise to any point in Cuba, as well as moving the work force from the capital. Conditions are in place to ensure that stable drinking water can be supplied to all investments that are being executed in the Zone. Power supply is ensured by a network of modern sub-stations, with three entry circuits that permit dealing with any contingencies that may occur due to meteorological reasons or unforeseen disruptions. The Zone has a communications system interconnected by fiber optics and backup radio linkup. In the future we foresee the installation of a communication center connected by fiber optics backing up its networks.