The Cuban gross
domestic product (GDP) decreased by 34,8% between 1989 and 1993.
In 1994 the country managed to slow down this process. After
the said crisis, the economic recovery reached its peak in 1996
with a growth of 7,8%. However, though the tendency to grow
continues, in 1997 the economy grew by just 2,5%, much less
than expected. The major component of the Cuban economy is sugar
cane; the national production of Sugar Cane has decreased due
to lack of materials, fertilizer and spare parts for the industry.
More recently, tourism is becoming the main source of hard currency
for the country. Between 1990 and 1997 an average annual increase
of 19,3% of overall visitors and 11,4% new visitors for tourists.
To this date, there are 65 joint venture firms operating at
the island in the tourism sector, with a capital above 2.5 billion
For the year 2001, with an availability
of 37,000 rooms, over 2,2 million tourists are expected to arrive.
Foreign investments in different businesses have increased to
more than 340 enterprises. According to official figures, capital
involved in these associations rises to 2,5 billion dollars.
The more attractive businesses for foreign investors are: tourism,
nickel and other minerals, communications, construction, real
estate and exploitation of oil fields. Last year production
of crude oil was over 1 678 000 tons. Production arrangements
have also been favoured by the Free Zones opened at Wajay, Havana,
Berroa and Mariel, where more than 70% of the area is used for
commercial activities. Tobacco, another important product of
international good standing, yielded 150 000 quintals in 1998.
Other important products with improved profits are; coffee,
rum, citrus fruits, cocoa and agriculture as a whole. Pharmaceutical
and biotechnological industries are also developing. Best commercial
partners for the island are; Europe, Latin America, Canada,
Russia and China. Over the year 2000 the losses incurred by
the economic and commercial embargo imposed by the United States
exceeded 2 billion dollars.