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Cuba launches exports to U.S.

Cuba sent its first load of charcoal to the U.S. this week.

Fred Katayama reports.

Cuba looks to rake in more money from charcoal. Cuba sent its initial load to the U.S. this week. Just $17,000 worth so it was largely symbolic. But it was the first legal Cuban export to the U.S. in five decades. Those shipments coming despite President Trump’s threat to undo the U.S. deal with Cuba. Cuban Agricultural Ministry official Wilfredo Arregui: SOUNDBITE: WILFREDO ARREGUI, OFFICIAL, CUBAN MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE (SPANISH) SAYING: “We continue to produce, independently of how the politics in the United States develops.” Cuba ships charcoal to six countries and hopes to add Britain and Germany as customers. As exports increase, charcoal worker Rolando Rodriguez says life has improved. SOUNDBITE: ROLANDO RODRIGUEZ, CHARCOAL WORKER, (SPANISH) SPEAKING: “As charcoal was exported, the salary got better. We could get things we didn’t have before, which we now have.” The U.S. trade embargo remains, but President Obama facilitated some commercial links. Cuba’s economy fell into a recession last year, so it hopes to boost trade with the U.S.    — Reuters