SPARKS ANNOUNCES $18 MILLION IN CONTRACTS FOR ALABAMA EXPORTS TO CUBA
MONTGOMERY, Ala.-- Agriculture and Industries Commissioner Ron Sparks
announced today that trade negotiations between Alabama agribusiness
leaders and Cuban trade officials have resulted in approximately $18
million in new contracts for Alabama and Alabama sourced products.
Agreements were made to purchase nearly $9 million in poultry products,
over $10 million in transmission poles, with negotiations ongoing for
additional lumber sales, plus several containers of snack foods.
"Clearly, the results from this trip show how Alabama profits from
exporting to Cuba," said Sparks. Sparks has focused attention on
increasing the growth of Alabama exports to Cuba because it had
previously been an underutilized market. Since 2002, Alabama has
increased sales of products such as poultry, soybeans, and timber to
Cuba to $15 million in 2004 in direct cash sales, which equates to
approximately $50 million annually in economic impact for the state. The estimated annual economic impact of the new contracts negotiated
last week for local products could alone be as much as $60 million.
"Alabama cannot afford to ignore this growing market. We have worked
hard to establish trade relations that can truly make a significant
difference to the people here, and we need to continue to nurture that
relationship for the sake of our farmers, producers, and workers,"
During the three day conference, agribusiness leaders were able to
negotiate directly with Pedro Alvarez, chairman and CEO of ALIMPORT.
Alvarez expressed appreciation for the food products imported from
Alabama businesses and reassured Sparks that Cuba would double the
number of purchases from Alabama in the near future. Trade between Cuba
and Alabama businesses is a continual process.
"Trade with Cuba offers
an excellent opportunity to expand the market for Alabama poultry, beef,
timber and other commodities produced in our state," said Mike Kilgore,
executive director of the Alabama Farmers Federation. "I was impressed with the high regard Cuban
trade officials hold for our state and specifically the agricultural
products we produce."
The delegation included legislators from districts that have
agricultural industries that have shown interest in trade with Cuba.
"As part of the delegation that visited Cuba last year, I can see this
year that Alabama's ties to Cuba have only grown stronger. Commissioner
Sparks has done an excellent job of building trade relations with Cuba,
and this is good news for Alabamians," stated Senator Lowell Barron.
"We again signed contracts for the sale of poultry and various
agriculture commodities to Cuba. Poultry is a leading farm product in my
area, and expanding markets for our agricultural producers means not
only putting food on the tables of Cuban families, it helps put food on
the table for Alabama's families."
The United States Department of Commerce provides the license that
allows individual businesses to export products to Cuba. The process to
obtain a license can take as long as two months, after which the
products may be shipped from the Port of Mobile. The proactive
leadership of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries and
the Alabama State Port Authority in exports has also secured
approximately $50 million worth of regional products to be shipped
through the Port of Mobile.
Below is a summary of the negotiations in Cuba.
Highlights from Cuba Trade Conference
* 8500 transmission poles sourced from Alabama companies valued at
over 10,000,000 dollars (similar to telephone poles)
* Over 5000 tons Alabama-raised poultry arrived in Cuba for
unloading during the trip
* Contracts were signed for future sales of approximately 10,800
metric tons of poultry that will predominately be sourced from Alabama
* Poultry contracts valued over $8,000,000
* Alabama based traders representing Alabama based snack food
companies negotiated the sale of several containers of snack food
* Alabama lumber company officials negotiated the sales of
* The introduction of many Alabama products to the Cuban buyers
for tests and compatibility in the Cuban market
For more information, please contact Dr. John Gamble or John Curry Key