U.S. Allows 'Restricted' Trade Fair In Cuba

HAVANA: For the first time since the 1959 Cuban revolution, U.S. companies have been authorized to mount a trade fair in Havana, albeit one restricted to healthcare products. PWN Exhibicon International LLC, a subsidiary of Southport, Conn.-based Compass Group International, said the U.S. Treasury Dept. and Cuban authorities had granted it approval to organize the Havana fair, scheduled for Jan 25-29, 2000. PWN Exhibicon International announced a year ago that Cuba and the U.S. had granted permission for a trade show, only to have the U.S. change its mind. The U.S. has maintained an embargo against Cuba that allows for the sale of healthcare products, though companies have long complained that regulations make doing business almost impossible. Sources said the U.S. government had granted a general license allowing for all healthcare products, with the exception of those used in biotechnological research and production, to be shown at the fair. Each trade show participant also will need a license, although organizers said with the general license having been granted, participant licenses shouldn't be a problem.

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