The accords were penned during a business meeting that wound up Wednesday at Havana’s Convention Hall, attended by Cuban Foreign Trade Minister Raul de la Nuez and ALIMPORT president Pedro Alvarez.

The business deals include the purchase by Cuba of 318, 000 tons of foodstuffs, valued at 118 million 612,000 dollars. The products will be destined to the Cuban population’s subsidized basic food basket during the second half of the year.

US providers include the firm Bunge, of Florida, which will supply 30,000 metric tons of soybean flour and Pilgrims Pride, of Georgia, which will sell Cuba 4,200 tons of chicken meat.

The island will also purchase 25,000 tons of corn from the Connecticut Corporation, whose president Louis Dreyfus called for an expansion of the bilateral trade exchange in the benefit of both nations.

"The logical future of our bilateral relations needs the lifting of all kinds of restrictions and our joint work to achieve that purpose," said Dreyfus in direct reference to the over-45-year US economic, financial and commercial blockade on the island, which has been reinforced by the Bush administration.

Meanwhile, Pedro Alvarez said that one of the prioritized products in the contracts signed on Wednesday is chicken meat, which Cuba buys at one dollar a kilogram, while it is distributed to the population at a subsidized price, equivalent to only eight cents of a dollar a kilogram.

The first session of the meeting, held on Monday, was attended by US Congress people Rosa de Lauro, of Connecticut; Bob Elheridge, of North Carolina; Rodney Alexander, of Louisiana; Jack Kingston, of Georgia, and Marlon Berry, of Arkansas.

In December 2001, the US government only authorized agricultural producers to sell food products to Cuba. The island’s purchases of US food have reached 2.4 billion dollars since that year.

The Bush administration does not authorize any kind of credit lines for Cuba, which has to pay in cash, add to that the requirement that payments must be done before ships, loaded with foodstuffs, leave US ports.

Washington has maintained a commercial, financial and economic blockade against Cuba over the past 45 years. The US anti-Cuba action has been condemned by most United Nations member nations in repeated occasions.

Cuban Agency News
La Agencia Cubana de Noticias (ACN) es una división de la Agencia de Información Nacional (AIN) de Cuba fundada el 21 de mayo de 1974.

Cuban News Agency