Cuban agriculture
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Cuba to resume taxing imported food

Cuba to resume taxing imported

Updated: 2012-06-02 16:20

( Xinhua)

HAVANA – Cuba would soon reimpose taxes on imported food after four

years of exemption, the country's office said on Friday.

The new regulation would come into effect on June 18, the General

Customs Office said in a statement.

Imported food had been taxed since 1979, but the levy was suspended in

2008 as an "exceptional" measure after Hurricanes Gustav, Ike and Paloma

caused billions of dollars in losses to the Caribbean nation.

Cuba spends about $2 billion every year importing food, accounting for

80 percent of food consumption in the country, and the cost has been

rising due to increasing prices in international markets.

In the past four years, Cubans living in the United States and visiting

the island frequently have benefited most from the exemption.

It also greatly benefited the owners of restaurants and coffee shops

spreading throughout the island as a result of the economic changes

promoted by , experts said.

According to official figures, 1,618 private restaurants have opened in

Cuba since October 2010, when Castro reopened the door to "self-employment".

Castro is currently developing a program to stimulate agricultural

production in the country, including the distribution of about 1.4

million hectares of land to more than 160,000 farmers and granting

credits to farmers to buy agricultural machinery.

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