- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 1, 2002

HAVANA (AP) New American food sales to communist Cuba reached nearly $75 million at an agribusiness fair aimed at whetting the island's appetite for U.S. farm products and chipping away at the 40-year trade embargo.
Cuban officials said yesterday they had struck deals to buy $74.8 million in American food. More deals were announced as the five-day fair drew to a close.
Authorities initially said they expected $50 million in contracts during the fair, which featured products including cheese, chicken, tropical drinks and chili sauce.
Contracts for $16 million were signed on Sunday, said Pedro Alvarez, head of Cuba's food-import concern Alimport.
Cuban President Fidel Castro showed up at the fair on Sunday morning to witness the signings of two contracts: one for $5 million in soybeans and corn from F.C. Stone of Iowa, and a second to buy 25 million eggs worth $1 million from Dolphin Shipping & Trading of Georgia.
Mr. Castro congratulated the Americans for attending.
The show, he said, "has been possible thanks to the determination, constructive spirit and initiative of farmers and business people in the United States."
The exhibition featured 288 exhibitors from 33 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The show is fully licensed by the U.S. government to be in Cuba, which remains under a trade embargo after more than four decades.

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