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. Chinese locomotives to chug across Cuba
HAVANA (AFP) Dec 05, 2005
Twelve Chinese locomotives, the first the Asian country has exported to Latin America, are en route to Cuba, which bought them in January to improve rail service on the communist island, the official daily Granma said Monday.

The DF7G-C diesel-electric locomotives with 2,500 horse power were shipped Sunday from the northeastern port of Tianjin, Granma said, but it did not give an arrival date or purchase price.

"The 12 locomotives bound for Cuba are the first that China has exported to Latin America and the Caribbean, making this trade operation another symbol of the growing links between China and Cuba," a Cuban diplomat in China, Alberto Blanco, was quoted as saying.

In a bid to ease its passenger and cargo transit problems Cuba also purchased 1,000 Chinese buses this year, of which 200 are already in use.

China was Cuba's fourth trade partner in 2004 -- Venezuela was first -- but at the end of September 2005 it was in second place, after a 48 percent surge in bilateral trade, the Cuban foreign trade ministry said.

Bilateral trade was worth 259 million dollars in 2004 but at the end of September had already surpassed 550 million dollars, official data showed.

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