Interesting story about how the once vaunted cash trade--including multiple currency swaps--with Cuba has declined in recent years as the country finds other trading partners with less onerous terms.
U.S. sales of food and agricultural commodities to the communist-run island began more than a decade ago with the Trade Sanctions Reform Act enacted in 2000 under President Clinton. Modest sales of $138 million the following year rose steadily to a peak of $710 million in 2008, according to statistics calculated by Kavulich's group.
The value of U.S. exports to Cuba has since plummeted to just over half that last year at $358 million. It was $250 million through the first six months of 2012, with no sign of improvement.
Cuba is turning instead to Vietnam, Venezuela, and China.
As with virtually every other aspect of U.S. policy toward Cuba, our trade policy makes no sense and hurts us much more than it hurts the Cuban government. We want to punish you by not trading, so we will just trade in a peculiar way and say we're punishing you. And we will only allow exports of a very particular type, defining "agricultural commodities" in new and fun ways. So, for example, you can export semen but not cardboard boxes. For the full list of goods in all of its glory, just click here.