HAVANA, Cuba, Monday January 16, 2017 – Cuban company CubaExport has signed a landmark agreement to sell vegetable charcoal to US firm Coabana Trading, marking the first time in more than half a century that a Cuban-made product will be exported from Cuba and sold in the United States.
The first delivery of 40 tonnes is scheduled for Wednesday, January 18.
“This is truly a momentous occasion,” said Scott Gilbert, Chairman of Reneo Consulting LLC, Coabana’s parent company. “Marabu charcoal is widely viewed as the best artisanal charcoal in the world. Now US consumers will be able to purchase this product, as have Europeans and others for many years.”
“More importantly,” Gilbert emphasized, “this marks the beginning of a new era of trade between the United States and Cuba. This is a perfect example of a win-win for both our countries. The Marabu plant is an invasive weed that clogs otherwise fertile organic fields in Cuba – now it can be used to produce this fantastic artisanal charcoal, thereby clearing the fields and making them available for agricultural growth.”
The US trade embargo on Cuba, imposed in 1958, remains in place, but outgoing US President Barack Obama began thawing relations in 2015, easing restrictions on imports of goods and services from private Cuban entrepreneurs.