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U.S. sales frenzy at Cuban fair

November 12, 2003
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U.S. companies, some complaining politics at home was blocking their growing business with Cuba, landed new deals to sell grain, chicken, tomato paste, mayonnaise, spaghetti sauce and gum, according to Reuters. The frenzy of contracts with the Cuban food import agency Alimport totaled $26 million for the day on Friday and $52 million for the week at Havana''s annual trade fair. Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland of Decatur, Illinois, signed for another $17 million in grains, oil, meal and soy beans. Trading company Louis Dreyfus of Atlanta, Georgia, sold 6,000 tons of chicken leg quarters for $3.5-$4 million. Throughout the week, a line of companies that are American household names -- Tyson Foods, Goldkist, Sysco Corp., ConAgra Foods Inc., -- secured more business with the government of President Fidel Castro, in power since a 1959 revolution. U.S.-based gum company Adams clinched a sale of Chiclets for $163.000. Adams is owned by Britain''s Cadbury Schweppes Plc. One contract that did not get signed at the fair was for the sale of U.S. sugar, and the American trader involved said powerful political interests in Florida were opposing the deal. Cuba, once the world''s largest sugar producer, needs to import sugar for local consumption because its harvest fell to a 70-year low and output is pledged to foreign buyers. Trading company PS International Ltd is in talks with Alimport to sell Cuba between 5,000 and 15,000 tons of sugar, but the sale hinges on an export quota decided by the U.S. government when imports exceed expectations.
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