Cuba opens first gov­ern­mentsanc­tioned whole­sale mar­ket

South Florida Times - - CARRIBEAN - Cuba's whole­sale mar­ket pro­vides lim­ited ac­cess. As­so­ci­ated Press

HA­VANA - Cuba has opened its first whole­sale mar­ket, lend­ing a hand to some non-state busi­nesses in an econ­omy dom­i­nated by govern­ment-run en­ter­prises.

State-run news­pa­per Granma said the mar­ket is part of an on­go­ing ef­fort to ``re­or­ga­nize'' com­merce on the com­mu­nist is­land.The mar­ket will sell beans, beer, su­gar, cigars and other goods for 20 to 30 per­cent less than the prod­ucts cost at state-owned re­tail stores through­out the coun­try.

Since 2010, the govern­ment has au­tho­rized about 500,000 peo­ple to op­er­ate pri­vate busi­nesses, and many of them have long sought ac­cess to a le­gal whole­sale mar­ket­place where they can pay be­low re­tail for the ma­te­ri­als they use for their own prod­ucts or re­sell to the pub­lic.

For most, their wait is not over. The govern­ment says the sin­gle mar­ket known as the Mer­ca­bal is only open to 35 worker-owned co­op­er­a­tives in Ha­vana, at least for now. Other of­fi­cially li­censed pri­vate work­ers might have ac­cess later.

The state-run econ­omy ac­counts for 70 to 80 per­cent of the Cuban econ­omy.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF FI­NANCE APPRISE

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