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Posted April 21, 2004 by publisher in Cuba-US Trade

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By Stephen Gibbs | BBC correspondent in Havana

The US says much of the produce is destined for the tourist market
The Cuban government has agreed to buy more than $100m worth of American food and agricultural produce.

The sales come after a week of talks with US business representatives in Havana.

Food sales have been permitted since 2000 under an exception to the four-decades-old US trade embargo on Cuba.

The Cuban government says that if the embargo were lifted altogether, it would spend $1bn a year on American food products alone.

Good business

The American salesmen that have spent a week in Havana say that $100m in a week is very good business indeed.

They came from across the United States and were competing with each other to close deals with the Cuban government.

The sale was everything from wheat and corn to eggs, milk and peas.

Many of the US businessmen made a verbal pledge as they signed up to the deals that they would work hard to get the US trade embargo on Cuba lifted when back home.

US diplomats in Havana say Cuba is playing politics - not simply buying American products, but buying support to lift the embargo.

They also allege that much of the produce being bought by Cuba is destined for the profitable tourist market.

Cuba denies that, saying that 95% of its American purchases will end up as subsidised food for Cubans.

It also says that it would be looking to buy much more than food from the United States if the embargo did not exist.

Aeroplanes, factory machinery, even oil exploration technology are among the American products Cuba says it would be interested in purchasing, if only it could.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on April 21, 2004 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I’ve seen the final dollar purchases at $106 million.

    I understand the best way to ultimately verify the Cuban purchases is from US generated shipping port records.

    Regardless, the show was a success on many levels.



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