Restrictions prohibiting Cubans from owning computers are set to be lifted but the country remains an unyielding place for foreign companies to do business.
News agency Reuters recently revealed news of the removal of restrictions after obtaining a leaked government memo. Cubans will now be allowed to purchase PCs and DVD players.
Restrictions on video recorders, car alarms, 19 and 24 inch television sets, electric pressure cookers and microwaves are also set to be lifted. But air conditioners may not be legally available until next year and Cubans might have to wait until 2010 to purchase a toaster, due to limited power supplies.
Previously only foreign nationals and some companies were allowed to buy computers but Raul Castro, who was formally appointed as Cuban president last month, is set to relax the laws. However, doing business with Cuba has always been problematic for foreign companies, due in part to its frosty relationship with the US.
In a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit in October, out of 82 countries, Cuba was ranked as having the 78th best business environment. Only Libya, Iran, Venezuela and Angola have less hospitable business environments.
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