Saturday, December 17, 2016

Cuba offers to pay off debt to Czech Republic in rum

Cuba offers to pay off debt to Czech Republic in rum
Cubans offer to settle $270m debt in kind – including several brands of rum
Czech minister calls liquor proposal 'an interesting option'
AFP in Prague
Friday 16 December 2016 18.13 GMT

Cash-strapped Cuba has offered to pay its old debt to the Czech Republic
with goods it can spare, including its coveted rum, according to the
Czech finance ministry.

"The Cuban party as a possible solution presented a list of commodities
… [including] several brands of rum," the ministry said in a statement
on Friday.

Czech media put the Cuban debt at about 7bn koruna ($270m), but the
ministry said it had yet to tally the total sum as talks on the
repayment had only started late last year.

The debt is largely the legacy of business ties between Cuba and
Czechoslovakia, which split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in
1993, four years after shedding four decades of communist rule.

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The largest Czech broadsheet daily Dnes quoted the deputy finance
minister, Lenka Dupakova, as saying debt repayment in Cuban rum was "an
interesting option".

"These are relatively unknown brands which might be good, but we would
have to advertise them and generally launch them into the market," she

The daily said the Czech Republic – a country with the highest per
capita beer consumption in the world – had imported 892 tonnes of Cuban
rum worth 53m koruna ($2m) in 2015.

If the entire debt were repaid in rum, the Czechs would have enough rum
for 130 years at this pace.

But the ministry is against such a solution. "The Czech side believes
that at least part of the debt should be dealt in cash," it said.

Source: Cuba offers to pay off debt to Czech Republic in rum | World
news | The Guardian -

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