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Posted July 11, 2003 by publisher in Cuba-US Trade

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Associated Press

HAVANA, July 10—Cuba has signed an operating agreement with the Port of Corpus Christi, Tex., that an official said could help erode the long-standing U.S. embargo of the island.

“It’s another very progressive step toward the ultimate abolition of an embargo whose time has long passed,” said Ruben Bonilla Jr., the Port of Corpus Christi’s commission chairman.

Cuba has operating agreements with 11 other U.S. ports.

The Corpus Christi deal calls for initial bulk shipments followed by development of refrigerator and container shipping.

Bonilla said Corpus Christi, the fifth-largest U.S. port, hopes to pick up some of the business now going through Florida.

Since the U.S. government eased restrictions on farm and some other exports to Cuba in December 2001, the island nation has contracted for more than $480 million in U.S. goods, said Pedro Alvarez, chairman of Cuba’s food import agency, Alimport.

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