U.S. still top Cuba ag products supplier
Despite a 50-year-old trade embargo, Cuban government officials reported Monday the United States remained the top supplier of food and farm products to Cuba for the fifth year in a row, selling more than $600 million worth of agricultural exports to the communist nation in 2007.
Last year Cuba imported roughly the same amount of agricultural products from the United States as it did in 2006, said Pedro Alvarez, head of Cuban food importer Alimport. However, rising transportation and production costs forced the island nation to spend $30 million more in 2007 than the $570 million it did in 2006.
Nearly 1,600 types of agricultural products are shipped to Cuba from firms in 35 U.S. states, said Alvarez. While declining to specify which state is the leading exporter to Cuba, or even which product tops Cuba's agricultural imports, Alvarez said U.S. wheat, chicken and soy are among the leaders. His comments came during a Monday press conference with members of California's first state agricultural trade mission to Cuba.