As Cuban fields are being cleared of Marabu, U.S. citizens will now be able to purchase this quality variety of charcoal. On January 18, two days before U.S. President-elect, Donald Trump, is sworn into office, the first 40 ton shipment will arrive to the U.S. from Cuba, representing a historic occasion – the first export of Cuban goods to the U.S. in five decades.
This is the result of an agreement signed between the CubaExport entity and U.S. Coabana Trading LLC company, which took place at midday, January 5, at Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment (Mincex), following a lengthy negotiation process.
The accord was signed by director of CubaExport, Isabel O’Reilly, and President of Coabana Trading LLC, Scott Gilbert.
“This will be the first contract, but we hope to continue our relations for many years to come and not just with vegetable charcoal, but other exportable products such as honey and coffee,” explained O’Reilly speaking to Cubadebate.
The product will be sold at 420 USD per ton, the highest price achieved by CubaExport in over 10 years marketing this product, which normally sells on the international market for between 340 and 380 USD, “but with the U.S. we were able to get a higher price,” added O’Reilly.
Meanwhile, Scott Gilbert noted that it was a privilege to be visiting the island, and described the agreement as important for both countries and a step further toward building bridges between the U.S. and Cuba.
Regarding Donald Trump’s presidency, to begin January 20, Gilbert noted that if his administration supports free trade, then there should be no problem establishing these types of agreements.
The process to export Cuban marabu charcoal starts with agricultural cooperatives which cut down the material to clear the way for their crops. This is then sold to another entity which processes and prepares it for sale, with CubaExport responsible for handling export procedures.
In addition to CubaExport, Cuban charcoal is also marketed by Cimex, Cítricos Caribes and Alcona, which between them export a maximum of 80,000 tons a year to between five and six countries. Meanwhile, efforts are currently underway to branch out to the UK and German markets.
Marabu charcoal has a high calorific power, making it one of the best in the world. It is produced in natural wood burning stoves and does not contribute to deforestation. (Cubadebate)