Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Canadian food sales to Cuba recover
Tue Nov 6, 2007 12:47 PM EST137

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba signed a contract with the Canadian Wheat Board
on Tuesday to buy 150,000 tonnes of wheat, a sign that Canada's food
sales are recovering at the expense of U.S. exporters.

The president of the Cuban food import agency Alimport, Pedro Alvarez,
said the wheat purchase for delivery next year was worth about $70 million.

Cuba also bought 100,000 tonnes of peas and 3,000 tonnes of powdered
milk from Canadian companies at the annual Havana trade fair, deals
worth another $75 million, he said.

Cuban food purchases from Canada will increase 40 percent this year due
to difficulties in buying from the United States, which is requiring
payment before shipment on food sales under an exception to the U.S.
trade embargo against Cuba, he said.

"We are signing with the Canadian before the Americans," Alvarez said.

Canada exported 89,000 tonnes of wheat to Cuba in the 2006/07 marketing
year, which ended July 31, according to Canadian Grain Commission

The previous year, Canada shipped 177,000 tonnes of wheat to Cuba — its
biggest exports to the country in the previous decade. The 10-year
average is 77,500 tonnes.

Communist-run Cuba, which depends on imports to feed its population,
imported 510,000 tonnes of wheat last year.

Canada is the main market for Cuba's tourist trade, with some 600,000
Canadians visiting Cuban beach resorts each year. Canada's Sherritt
International is the largest foreign investor in Cuba, mining nickel and
producing oil.

U.S. food exporters edged out Canadian rivals after they were allowed to
sell to Cuba seven years ago. But Cuba is forced to pay in cash and the
Bush administration made things harder in 2004 by requiring prepayment.
U.S. sales peaked at $392 million in 2004 to fell to $340 million last year.

"We compete with the Americans all around the world, so we are very
happy about this signing," said Greg Arason, president and CEO of the
Canadian Wheat Board.

(Reporting by Marc Frank; Editing by Anthony Boadle and Matthew Lewis)

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