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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

US firms defy Bush's embargoes on Cuba

Tue, 06 Nov 2007 17:37:55

Cuba has pledged to sign nearly $450 million in contracts with hundreds of US and international firms, despite economic sanctions.

Less than two weeks after President George W. Bush asked US lawmakers to renew his nation's 45-year economic embargo against the island, Cuban officials touted their 25th annual trade fair as proof that the policy has failed, The International Herald Tribune reported.

"For Cuba, this is a demonstration that the genocidal, economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States for nearly 50 years has failed to achieve its objective of isolating us from other countries," Foreign Trade Minister Raul de la Nuez said at the fair's opening ceremony.

Nearly 1,000 companies from 53 countries displayed products at the gathering, which runs in Havana until Saturday.

Cuba's top six trade partners are Venezuela, China, Spain, Canada, Italy and Brazil, which together account for 70 percent of commerce the island has with firms from 176 countries, de la Nuez said.

Foreign trade grew 12 percent in the first nine months of 2007 over the year-ago period, de la Nuez said. Cuba inked deals worth $432 million at last year's trade fair.


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