La Habana, Jan 5 (.-) .- The company Coabana Trading LLC, a subsidiary of Reneo Consulting, will export to the US marabou charcoal produced in Cuba following an agreement signed today with the state company Cuba Export that opens the island doors Market for the first time in more than half a century.
The operation “marks the beginning of a new era of trade between the US and Cuba,” Reneo president Scott Gilbert was quoted as saying in a statement from the firm sent to Efe announcing the signing of the deal.
Marabou coal, obtained by private cooperatives from a plant that is considered an invasive species on the island, is expected to begin earlier this year in the US, where it will be introduced into the market by Fogo Charcoal, a subsidiary of the Firm Susshi International.
The agreement, one of the most newsworthy in the process of normalization between the two countries started in December 2014, was signed today in Havana, without access to most of the international media accredited in Cuba, and was subsequently disseminated through The official press.
It was signed by the US company Gilbert and Cubaexport’s director Isabel O’Reilly, according to a report from the state news agency Prensa Latina, which states that the first shipment includes two 20-ton containers of charcoal, A price of $ 420 a ton.
“It’s a truly memorable moment,” said Gilbert, who noted that marabou charcoal is recognized as “the best handmade coal in the world” and was delighted that Americans will be able to buy it, as they have for many years Consumers in Europe and other regions.
For Gilbert, the operation is a “perfect example” of a mutually beneficial partnership, as marabou is an invasive plant that has spread over large areas of fertile land of the island, so that conversion to coal will also serve to clear Those fields for agricultural crops.
Coal, he said, is produced by private Cuban cooperatives that, with this agreement, accede to a growing market “less than a hundred miles”, which is “the first step in what should become a flourishing bilateral trade” that includes a great variety Of products like honey or coffee.
The executive acknowledged that his country’s economic and trade embargo on Cuba still “severely limits” the possibilities, and referred to that measure as “the most severe trade and travel restrictions” that the US has ever imposed on a country .
“This failed cold war relic should be relegated to the junkyard of history, where it belongs,” insisted Gilbert, who urged those who disagree with his arguments to travel to Cuba and interact with the population in order to be able to express an opinion Grounds.
“Meanwhile, we will do everything we can to expand our economic relations with the Cuban people,” he added.
In recent weeks, Cuba and the US have accelerated the signing of bilateral agreements and visits to advance to the maximum in the process of melting before the Republican President-elect Donald Trump arrives at the White House, openly opposed to the politics of rapprochement Of the Obama Administration.
The outgoing leader has smoothed the embargo through a series of executive measures that have allowed, among other things, the reestablishment of commercial flights or investments in sectors such as technology, but the lifting of the blockade is in the hands of Congress, with a Republican majority Opposed to doing so.
According to official figures, Cuba produces more than 40,000 tonnes of charcoal each year to meet domestic demand and cover exports, mainly to the European market.
The leading Cuban company in the export of coal from Marabú is Agroindustrial Ceballos, which in the last eleven years has produced 204,323 tonnes of this product for the international market, according to the state newspaper Granma.
In addition to the European countries, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey and Israel are to date some of the main recipients of Cuban charcoal.