Cuba seeks to woo more than $8 billion in foreign investment at international trade fair

Cuba is asking international firms to invest more than $8 billion in the island as it attempts to kick start a centrally planned economy starved for cash and hamstrung by inefficiency.

Foreign Commerce Minister Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz has announced a list of 246 projects Cuba wants that would require $8.7 billion in investment, ranging from farms to a light auto plant.

The list announced Monday at Havana's International Fair is the latest step in Cuba's push for foreign capital that also includes a law relaxing conditions for investment and the creation of a special trade zone in the Mariel port west of Havana.

Cuba says foreign investment must reach $2 billion annually to increase an economic growth rate not expected to exceed 1 percent this year.