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Cuba Trade Show Licenses Denied news ^ | June 18, 2003 | Anita Snow

Posted on 06/18/2003 11:49:55 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

HAVANA - With U.S.-Cuban relations in a particularly difficult time, the Bush administration has denied the request of a U.S. firm to stage a second American farm products trade show in communist Cuba, a leading trade information group reported Tuesday.

The U.S.-Cuba Trade and Business Council reported in its weekly newsletter that the Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control denied the request by PWN Exhibicon International LLC, of Westport, Conn., on June 2. The company hoped to stage its second agribusiness fair in the Cuban capital in January.

Washington also denied the company's request for a license to hold its second American health care trade fair in Cuba, also planned for January, according to the council.

The New York-based council among the most authoritative sources of information on trade between the two nations.

The newsletter included a copy of the letter from the Office of Foreign Assets Control, which said the licenses would not be granted "based on foreign policy guidance from the Department of State."

In Washington, Treasury Department spokesman Taylor Griffin said he had no specifics about the action, but said the Bush administration "is committed to the full and fair enforcement of the U.S. embargo against Cuba.

"As President Bush has said, 'without meaningful reform, trade with Cuba would do nothing more than line the pockets of Fidel Castro (news - web sites) and his cronies,'" said Griffin.

PWN Exhibicon International, operated by veteran trade fair organizer Peter Nathan, put together the first huge U.S. agribusiness fair in Havana last fall, as well as a U.S. health care product fair in January 2000.

Attempts to reach Nathan for comment were not successful Tuesday night.

Nathan's company organized the U.S. Food & Agribusiness Exhibition that brought more than 900 representatives of 291 American agri-businesses to Havana's Convention Palace last September. More than 16,000 Cubans attended the fair.

During the exhibition, the Cuban government signed contracts to purchase about $92 million in American farm products under an exception to the four-decade-old U.S. trade embargo against the Caribbean country.

The U.S. Healthcare Exhibition two years before brought more than 300 representatives of 97 American companies to Cuba for the show of American medical products. More than 8,000 Cuban health care professionals visited that exhibition.

American companies have sold more than $200 million worth of farm products to Cuba since late 2001, when Fidel Castro's government decided to take advantage of a new exception to U.S. trade sanctions. The law, passed in 2000, allows the sale of American food and other agricultural products to Cuba on a cash basis.

Food purchases have included bulk sales of grains such as wheat and rice, dried legumes, chicken, apples and even some brand-name packaged products.

Under the same law, a Jacksonville, Fl., lumber producer is beginning shipments to Cuba this month, making it the first American company to sell wood to the island since Cuban revolution in 1959.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Cuba; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: communism; deadbeat
*** In a desperate financial gamble, Castro recently raided the $250 million set aside to pay hard currency debt to European, Latin American, and Asian countries for essential imports. Instead, he used it to buy US farm products for cash. He was apparently calculating that he could persuade the US Congress to enact legislation freeing up additional exports to Cuba, and approving a flood of tourists to Cuba. The ploy hasn't worked. Nor, given the crackdown on dissenters, does the outlook look good for improving US-Cuban ties. President Bush is threatening new punitive measures. *** Castro's $250 Million "Charm offensive" hasn't worked: It's same old cruel regime.

*** Moreover, in the 2000-2001 fiscal year, Canadian taxpayers paid about $30-million to cover Canadian exports to Cuba that el jefe máximo could not or would not pay for. Canada has also granted Cuba what amounts to a $14-million line of credit to help pay for Canadian agricultural imports. Fidel Castro's friends in Ottawa

Don't subsidize a tyrant *** While the embargo restricts most U.S.-Cuba trade, it does not impose a humanitarian burden. Cuba frequently has bought wheat from Canada, rice from Vietnam, and medicine from Europe, Asia and Latin America. Donations of food and clothing and the licensed sale of U.S. medical products are permitted. The real cause of Cuba's hardship is not the embargo but the state's Soviet-style economy. Traditional exports such as sugar cost the regime more to produce than they sell for on the global market. Tourism brings in hard currency but not nearly enough to provide for Cuba's needs. Debt payments are so uncertain that major trade partners often must extend new loans.***

Friends of Fidel ***Louisiana rice and Illinois wheat producers should not assume that selling to Havana is synonymous with getting paid. U.S taxpayers should be wary. Mr. Castro desperately needs credits and subsidies, and Washington is being pressured to provide them. If the United States begins to subsidize trade with Cuba estimated at $100 million a year five years from now, U.S. taxpayers could be holding, or paying off, a $500 million tab. That´s real money. Before extending Mr. Castro credit, grain growers should visit any street corner in Manhattan and observe a game played there. Called three-card monte, it consists of convincing the player that he knows exactly where the card carrying his money is. Until it disappears. In this game, the gambler takes his own chances. Where trade with Mr. Castro is concerned, the U.S. taxpayer will be left holding the losing card. ***

1 posted on 06/18/2003 11:49:56 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Ask the Canadians about Fidel's credit. The only way they'll get paid for previous shipments is to ship some more. Nice gambit !
2 posted on 06/18/2003 12:17:14 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
How interesting. How French. I'd cut them off.
3 posted on 06/18/2003 12:24:02 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
Fidelito got a lot more than $250 million from Saddam and Al Qaeda and the Saudis to allow terrorists to rest, plan and train in Cuba before they went to Mexico and then up into the US. He still has big bucks and the Saudi friends of Bin Laden are maintaing a steady strem.

On a pure humanitarian level, however, I've got to go with the Eurinals and US leftists on this one. We should get permits for Cuba. How else are we going to be able to execute black guys as efficiently as Fidel if we can't get to Cuba to study his proceedures. He had three blacks guys (the light skinned guys got prison) who, within 3 days of their trial, were executed. Now, that is cutting out wasted time and the cost of appeals and years (decades?) of incarceration! No worrying about whether the wrong guy has been sentenced, whether there were enough blacks on the jury, or whteher his IQ would have been below state exams levels. It doesn't matter!! He's gonzo! How are we going to learn and, in the eyes of the Eurinals, be as good as Castro, if we can't go to Cuba.

4 posted on 06/18/2003 12:31:51 PM PDT by Tacis
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
We don't deal with communists.
5 posted on 06/18/2003 12:56:33 PM PDT by Sangria
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