14:39 | 30/12/2016 Global Economy
Cuba's gross domestic product (GDP) decreased 0.9 percent in 2016, the vice president of the Council of Ministers Ricardo Cabrisas said on Tuesday.
Speaking during parliament's last session of the year, Cabrisas, who is also minister of Economy and Planning, said Cuba fell short of expected export revenue as its trade partners suffered from poor economies.
He also blamed the U.S.-led trade embargo, which continued to punish international firms for doing business with Cuba, even as the White House worked to normalize ties with the island.
The embargo imposed hefty fines on global banking companies doing transactions with Cuba.
Cuba's economy grew 4 percent in 2015. Cabrisas predicted that the GDP in 2017 is expected to grow two percent, thanks to dynamic sectors such as the sugar industry, tourism, energy, manufacturing and agriculture.
Next year, Cuba's government will prioritize paying off the foreign debt and attracting foreign investment, as only 6.5 percent of planned investment in 2017 includes foreign capital, he said.
Despite financial constraints, Cuba's 2017 budget, approved on Tuesday, allocates funds to maintain social services at the same level as 2016, Cabrisas said.