HAVANA (AP) — Cuban imports from the United States fell sharply in 2010 while the country increasingly turned to trade with key ally Venezuela, according to newly released government statistics.
Cuba's National Statistics Office said the island imported $410 million from the U.S. in 2010, most in food products. That was down from $645 million the previous year and about $1 billion in 2008.
The nearly 50-year-old U.S. trade embargo outlaws most U.S. commerce with Cuba, but it allows some things like agricultural goods and medicine to be sold to the island.
The 2010 numbers on external trade released this week had not been previously announced, and 2011 figures are not available.
The document said trade with Venezuela, which has become Cuba's main commercial partner under President Hugo Chavez, topped $6 billion in 2010, nearly double the $3.4 billion registered the year before.
Venezuela provides about 100,000 barrels of oil a day to Cuba on beneficial terms and receives doctors and technical advisers from Cuba.
China was Cuba's second-largest partner in 2010 with $1.9 billion in trade, according to the report, followed by Canada, Spain, Brazil and the Netherlands.
The United States ranked seventh.
Cuba said exports increased from $3.1 billion in 2009 to $4.6 billion in 2010.
So did imports, from $9.6 billion to $10.6 billion. Fuel and food topped the list of goods Cuba purchased.
Meanwhile a separate report said food prices on the island rose 20 percent last year.