United States now Cuba's biggest food supplier

November 4, 2005

Reuters- Mark Frank

AVANA, Nov 4 (Reuters) - The United States will be Communist-run Cuba's biggest food supplier this year, despite trade restrictions and onerous regulations, the head of the state's food importing monopoly said on Friday.

Alimport Chairman Pedro Alvarez said in an interview that about $500 million of his $1.5 billion budget this year went to buy U.S. cereals, grains, poultry and other products. That compares with second place Vietnam at more than $150 million, in large part due to its sale of 600,000 tonnes of rice to the Caribbean island.

China, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and some European countries were important suppliers as well, Alvarez said, with many at around $100 million.

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