Cuban Chemical Industry Focused on Import Substitution

Havana, May 21 (Prensa Latina) The Business Group of the Chemical Industry (GEIQ) is focused today on increasing its production to promote the substitution of imports, one of the reasons why it attends the 5th Business Fair.

In an interview with Prensa Latina, the investment director of GEIQ, Amet Rodríguez, commented that a wide range of products of the Group are represented at the 5th Business Fair – until May 23 at Expocuba-, an essential space where diversity is appreciated and the potential of the Cuban market, and where the participation and formulation of contracts in the process of looking for replacements for purchases abroad grow every day.

Rodríguez explained that the Group is composed of 17 companies, of which four are joint ventures, dedicated to the production of chemical products for the industry, such as hydrochloric and sulfuric acid, caustic soda, chlorine, and sodium hypochlorite. In addition, all industrial and medicinal gases, paper and cardboard in all its ranges, and infinite tiles for roofs.

The extensive range of the GEIQ also includes the reagent container for laboratories, the production of different types of plastic bottles, fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, calcium carbide, plastic tanks, lead for batteries and other uses in the industry; and united them, the production of tires and their used rubber; paints, enamels and varnishes; and products of light chemistry, such as shampoo for cars, dishwashers, descalers, degreasers, etc.

Regarding joint ventures, he added that three are dedicated to the production of oxygen and the application of gases destined for the national industry through the Empresa Gases Industriales (Industrial Gas Company) and constitutes one of the main productions in the country, he explained.

The remaining joint venture produces health paper, he said adding that with it they intend to replace almost 100 percent of imports by 2018, and by 2019 to achieve its totality, an issue that will be facilitated by new investments.

Rodriguez stressed that in the industry producing chlorine and caustic soda in the short term should be inaugurated a modern production plant of this chemical that will have first world technology and supplied by German suppliers. He added that this entity will be able to satisfy the current demand for the product, as well as its derivatives in the country.

This will make it easier for 2018 to produce 50 percent of the demand for chlorine and caustic soda, and 100 percent of the demand for hydrochloric acid and all the derivatives, he pointed out.

In this order, a new plant in the province of Cienfuegos is also scheduled to start operations, which will allow the substitution of mixed fertilizer imports, as well as meet the demand projected by the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture for 2019, an issue of great importance for food production, he highlighted.

He added that since 2015 there is a similar plant, which by 2019 will have to expand its productive capacity -nearly 80 percent-, based on the food program that the country has to replace those imports.

Regarding the paper industry associated with containers of boxes, clinical paper used in laboratories to sterilize, for test, explained that in 2016 an egg tray production plant was completed, which replaces 100 percent national demand and creates an export potential, and is located in the municipality of Jatibonico in the central province of Ciego de Ávila.

In addition, they are engaged, in the medium term, in the modernization of important nitrogenous plants in the country and other powerful oxygen plants.

The investment manager reaffirmed that they also work in a medium and long-term development program for the construction of industrial parks aimed at producing fertilizers and phosphates, a way of continuing along the lines of the programs for the development of the national industry.

Rodriguez meant that from the creation of new capacities and the modernization of the industry, not only the objective of import substitution will be achieved, but also the possibilities of exporting will be increased.

Providing the domestic market with the light chemicals needed in the home with hygiene and cleaning products as detergents is another of the strategies on which the group focuses its attention, he ensured.

The companies of the Chemical Group work in the line of import substitution since their productions are unique and that really comply with that principle, he concluded.

The 5th Business Fair is a space of interaction among all the actors of the Cuban economy that seeks to identify the needs of producers and claimants.

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