No more sugar-for-oil deals with Cuba after this year

May 18, 1999 02:00 AM

Igor Makurin, a spokesman for the Russian Trade Ministry, HAS said that Moscow would supply Havana with 1.5 million tons of crude oil this year in exchange for 800,000 tons of raw Cuban sugar.
Russian officials had indicated the week before that Russia was prepared to supply quite a bit more oil to Cuba this year. They said that 1.5 million tons had been slated for shipment in the first quarter of 1999 and another 1.48 million tons in the second quarter. They declined to say, however, whether that much oil had actually been sent.
Makurin, for his part, stated that only 300,000 tons of Russian oil had been dispatched to Cuba since the beginning of this year. He said that Russian and Cuban diplomats had agreed during a meeting on May 14 that Havana would receive only 1.5 million tons more Russian oil under sugar-for-oil deals arranged by the two governments. The swap arrangement will come to an end this year, he said, and all such contracts will be left to private companies in the future.
Makurin noted that Russia, under the first sugar-for-oil protocol signed in 1995, had pledged to send 14.25 million tons of oil to Cuba in exchange for 4.75 million tons of sugar between 1995 and 1998. Only 4.5 million tons of Russian oil actually went to Cuba between 1995 and 1998, he said.
Despite such mishaps, the sugar-for-oil deal accounted for about 80% of the $ 604.7 million worth of trade between Russia and Cuba last year. Moscow sent 840,000 tons of crude oil to Cuba in 1998, down from 2.1 million tons in 1997, while Havana sent 1.5 million tons of sugar to Russia last year, up from 1.2 million tons the previous year.

Source: NewsBase
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