Thursday, November 08, 2007

Bilateral Trade: Canada and Cuba sign food agreements

Cuba has signed agreements with two Canadian companies at the 25th Havana International Trade Fair to purchase 150,000 tons of wheat and 3,500 tons of powdered milk.

Pedro Alvarez, president of Cuba's largest importer Alimport, said the purchase agreements signed with the Canadian Wheat Board and the Canadian Dairy Commission confirm the island's willingness to continue developing trade relations with Canada. He noted that next year Cuba will nearly double its purchases with its fourth leading trade partner.

The Canadian Wheat Board has been exporting wheat to Cuba since the early 1990s.

Gaetan Paquette, board member of the Canadian Dairy Commission, said the organization is proud to have been selling powdered milk to Cuba for more than 25 years despite the US blockade.

Cuban Minister of Tourism Manuel Marrero noted that the overall annual exchange between the two countries exceeds one billion Canadian dollars, particularly in the areas of nickel production, natural gas-based energy production, and oil exploration and extraction.

Canada is the major foreign investor in Cuba, and also the main tourism market for the island with with 600,000 visitors traveling to Cuba every year. This figure represents 30 percent of all tourists annually entering the island.