BY JOAQUIN ORAMAS | Granma.cu
U.S. entrepreneurs participating in the Havana Trade Fair are planning to negotiate new sales of cattle and foodstuffs and hope to exceed the one billion dollars in total revenue they have received in trade operations with Cuba from 2001 to date.
As part of that endeavor, a contract for the sale of 100 head of Holstein dairy cattle to Cuba has already been signed, the first that Cuba’s ALIMPORT has contracted with U.S. companies attending Havana’s 22nd Trade Fair.
Up until October, the Cuban company had entered into contracts with U.S. companies for 3,827,660 metric tons of food with a value of $963,806,990. The payments have been made on time in spite of the lack of direct banking relations that delay the process, and losses caused by the delay of ships and containers.
Cattle rancher Ralph Kaehler has made another trip to the island and his proposition of high-quality genetic sires was received with interest on Cuba’s part. He is among those working to have the Bush administration lift the blockade that is as damaging to U.S. interests as well as to the Cuban people.
Rice grower Martin Lehnier is similarly involved in this project and indicated that Cuba is one of the world’s main markets for that product. “We are lucky that the southern part of the United States produces a rice that is exactly to Cubans’ taste,” he said, recalling that 40 years ago Cuba was the main buyer of U.S. rice, and that purchases resumed in 2001. Today, Cuba is the third largest importer of this cereal after Japan and Mexico, he noted.
It is obvious that under normal bilateral trade conditions, Cuba would quickly return to its position as the main importer of rice from the United States. Lehnier expressed the hope that sooner or later the situation between the two countries will change and called for an increase in direct contact between both peoples.