HAVANA – Spanish Secretary of State for Trade Maria Luisa Poncela said on Wednesday that she is confident that discussions between Madrid and Havana will result in a quick solution to the problems of non-payment to Spanish firms on the island, an outstanding debt totaling some 40 million euros (about $46.5 million).
Poncela, who attended the inauguration of the Spanish pavilion at the International Fair in Havana (FIHAV 2017), told EFE that one of the reasons for her visit to the Caribbean nation is “to study the situation of the Cuban government’s finances with regard to the payments to Spanish companies.”
According to figures assembled by Spain’s CESCE export credit firm, the outstanding debts total 40 million euros, forcing it to close down this line of credit until the situation can be resolved.
Poncela elected not to speak about non-payments but rather “delays” in the payments, saying that the funds “will be produced.”
“It’s something we’re analyzing jointly with the Cuban government and I’m sure that we’re going to find a solution,” she said, adding that “not all (Spanish) companies” operating in Cuba are facing this problem.
She also said that this year Cuba has already begun making some payments, adding that “CESCE will open up the (credit) line in the near term.”
Poncela also emphasized the recently-established Spain-Cuba exchange value fund, containing some 415 million euros, which “is at the disposal of the companies that have projects to develop” on the island.
The fund was created within the framework of the reconversion of Cuba’s bilateral debt to Spain agreed to in 2015 and seeks to provide incentives for Spanish investments in the Caribbean nation.
“It’s been difficult to get under way, but we already have a good number of projects under study, some are already being approved, and starting now this is going to go much more quickly. It’s going to be a good instrument,” she said.