Cuba has established or reestablished trade relations with many countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and Europe. The sudden rupture of trade with the former Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc nations in 1989 after 30 years of interrelationship caused severe trauma to the Cuban economy. However, there remains a clear political will on the part of the former Soviet republics to maintain economic relations with Cuba with a certain degree of preference. Nevertheless, Cuba has diversified its trading partners in recent years.
Almost half of Cuba's commodity export market (53%) is taken up by sugar and honey, representing 5.7% of the world's export sales in these commodities. Nickel is the second most lucrative exported commodity (23%), followed by fish (6.8%). Other exports include tobacco (5.6%) and medicinal and pharmaceutical products (2.8%). Primary imports include petroleum, food, machinery, and chemicals.
Russia buys 27% of Cuba's exports; Canada, 18%; and Spain, 8%. Imports come from Spain (17%), France (9%), and Canada (9%). Principal trading partners in 1998 (in millions of US dollars) were as follows:
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