Canadian business firms worry that -- whenever the U.S. trade embargo on
Cuba is lifted -- they will be trampled by a stampede of U.S.
corporations rushing to the island to cash in on the new market, an
article in Monday's The Globe & Mail says. "Behind the scenes, American
business lobbies have been increasing pressure on their government to
ease or lift the 47-year-old embargo," the Toronto newspaper reports.
"There's one reason for that: oil. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates
almost 5 billion barrels of oil and almost 10 trillion cubic feet of
natural gas lie below Cuban waters in the Gulf of Mexico. [...] U.S. oil
giants want in." Canada is already losing out to the U.S. on grain
sales, the paper says. "Canada remains among Cuba's biggest trading
partners, with two-way trade totaling about 1.6 billion Canadian dollars
last year. But foodstuffs accounted for little of Canada's CD$564
million in exports to the island, which consisted largely of machinery
and equipment." In contrast, "U.S. grain growers saw sales to Cuba soar
to more than US$400 million in 2007. [...] As a result, U.S. exports to
Cuba are on track to surpass Canada's this year, likely the first time
that has happened since the 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro to
power." To read the entire article, click here.
---Renato Pérez Pizarro
April 28, 2008