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End of Cuban embargo poses US agricultural export opportunities

End of Cuban embargo poses US agricultural export opportunities

Most trades between Cuba and the United States have been frozen for the last fifty years. 1962 saw a strict increase on restrictions for imported and exported produce between both countries. In 2001 very few agricultural trades were allowed to Cuba.

Despite maintaining small trades, the United States lost over a $ 1billion in potential trade a year.  Cuba suffered similarly with over $ 600million in losses. “From my professional point of view, I am very pleased to see it end. Normal trade relations will open the door to opportunities for importers and exporters within the industry,” explains John Vena, an American importer/exporter at John Vena, Inc. “Currently we export some specialty produce items to Puerto Rico. I believe many of these items will find a market with Cuba as trade relations redevelop.”

The end of the embargo will make it infinitely easier for American fruit and vegetable growers to export to Cuba, as well as for Cuban produce to be imported. “Cuba will have the ability to grow products American importers are searching for, especially tropical and ethnic varieties that we currently import from further markets.”

Since Cuba is the largest Caribbean country, exporters are enthusiastic about prospective trade relations. However, which items to be imported may vary, “it will depend on the first companies to invest and develop the logistic infrastructure needed., states Vena, “there should be an opportunity to redevelop the tomato industry which flourished before the embargo took effect.”

Publication date: 12/23/2014
Author: Kayleigh Csaszar

Fruit and vegetables at Russian retail after embargo

Photo Report on Russian retail
Fruit and vegetables at Russian retail after embargo

Seven weeks have passed since the imposition of Russian retaliatory sanctions on US, EU, Norway, Canada and Australia. Seven weeks Russia has been living under the conditions of embargo on import of fruit, vegetables and food from the above-mentioned countries.

The changes in the range of products, importers, prices and availability are illustrated below.

Central stores of four leading in Russia retail networks have been investigated. They are Karavan (Penza local retail chain), Dva Gusya (chain of Penza Commercial Alliance), Perekrestok (Russian Federal Retail chain) and SPAR (Dutch retail chain); all located in the city of Penza.  

KARAVAN (Penza Local Retail Chain)
Range-wise, in the stores of this chain the embargo has come unnoticed for the customers. There is hardly any fruit or vegetable that the locals would not be able to find in the stores. Even, the cauliflower that has been recently considered extinct, is available at a reasonable price (1.3 EUR/kg), production of Russia.

However, there are still plenty of fruit and vegetables imported from the European Union: grapes from the Netherlands, apples from France and Germany, nectarines from Spain

Nevertheless, many products have been substituted by imported from other countries. However, some of new fruit and vegetables do not look very attractive, e.g. the kiwi from Iran, or pears from Argentina. 

DVA GUSYA (Penza Commercial Alliance)
This supermarket presents a wide range of local domestic products that are cheaper than imported ones, usually in high demand and of better taste. However, are subject to season.

Due to different suppliers, the prices of imported products differ a lot from the previous shop, where Iranian kiwifruit and lemons cost 1.6 Euro/kg and 2.3 Euro/kg respectively. Here the imported from Turkey nice-looking kiwis cost 4.6 Euro/kg and slightly bigger lemons – 3.9 Euro/kg.

PEREKRESTOK (Russian Federal Retail Chain)
In Perekrestok the difference in the range of products is obvious. The first thing that catches the eye is the variety of exotic fruit and vegetables: from Chilean pineapples to Chinese pomelo.

Alongside with carefully and beautifully organized domestic production (which is not produced in Penza, but in other regions of Russia).

Moreover, some forbidden goods are quite easy to find in this supermarket, e.g. the Italian olives at 7.5 Euro/kg and 6.3 Euro/kg, depending on the colour.

SPAR (Dutch Retail Chain)
In SPAR the contrast of prices is quite high. One could hardly find any fresh production from embargoed countries. The majority imported from Europe fruit and vegetables are substituted by supplies from Serbia, Morocco, Turkey, Uzbekistan.

Red stamps on the price tags inform the customers of the price reduction that can be spotted on a significant number of goods. For example, the sultana grapes from Turkey now cost 1.1 Euro/kg, which saves you 0.2 Euro. 

The difference in price and measure units is well-demonstrated below in the example with garlic. Three bulbs of Chinese garlic cost 0.37 Euro, whereas a kilo of Russian garlic costs 1.8 Euro. 

Note: 1 Russian Ruble = 0.02 EURO

Publication date: 9/29/2014
Author: Sander Bruins Slot