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Cubans Buy Up U.S. Farm Items

October 01, 2002|From Associated Press

HAVANA — New American food sales to Cuba reached nearly $90 million Monday at an agribusiness fair aimed at whetting the Communist island's appetite for U.S. farm products and chipping away at the 40-year U.S. trade embargo, Cuban officials said.

As the fair neared the end of its last day Monday, Cuban officials said they had signed contracts for about $89 million in U.S. farm products--almost double what they initially hoped for.

Deals for as much as $13 million more in sales were still being discussed and will probably be announced in coming days, said Pedro Alvarez, head of the Cuban food import concern Alimport.

"The embargo has been weakening," President Fidel Castro said Monday afternoon after signing one of the largest contracts of the fair, a $17.1-million deal for corn, soybeans, soybean oil and turkey drumsticks with Cargill Inc. of Minneapolis.

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