HAVANA Ė Cuba loses $149 million annually in agricultural exports due to the 47-year-old U.S. economic embargo against the communist-ruled island, officials said.
The deputy agriculture minister, Alcides Lopez, said in comments cited by official media that the hardest hit sectors are tobacco, pork and poultry.
He said the analysis was based on data from April 2008 through March of this year.
The deputy minister said that premium Cuban cigars barred from the lucrative U.S. market represent the largest single chunk of lost exports, $61 million.
Lopez noted that while Washington loosened the embargo earlier this decade to allow Cuban purchases of U.S. farm goods, Cuba is still unable to export to the United States.
Cuban officials put the total cost to the island of the U.S. economic, financial and trade sanctions imposed in 1962 at $96 billion.
Though the Obama administration has eliminated restrictions on Cuban-Americansí travel and remittances to their homeland, the president says he is unwilling to consider scrapping the embargo absent moves by Havana to free political prisoners and implement democratic reforms. EFE