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Cablegate: Japan Suspension of Insurance for Cuba-Bound

VZCZCXRO3692
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #2286 2320800
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 190800Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6691
INFO RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA PRIORITY 9466
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA PRIORITY 7617
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA PRIORITY 1828
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE PRIORITY 3205
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO PRIORITY 0046
RUEATRS/TREASURY DEPT WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA PRIORITY 0025

UNCLAS TOKYO 002286

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR EAP/J AND WHA/CCA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD EINV EWWT PREL CU JA
SUBJECT: JAPAN SUSPENSION OF INSURANCE FOR CUBA-BOUND
EXPORTS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED NOT FOR INTERNET

1. (SBU) Japan's top economic newspaper reported August 19
that Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI), the
GOJ-backed provider of international trade insurance, stopped
accepting applications for trade insurance on deals with
Cuba, prompting speculation about the future of Japan's
Cuba-bound exports. Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
(METI) officials, however, told Econoff there has been no
final decision and the GOJ is working with Cuban Central Bank
officials to resolve the matter.

2. (SBU) The Central Bank of Cuba informed NEXI in early
August it was unable to make timely payment on recent imports
from Japan due to a shortage of foreign exchange, according
to the Nikkei newspaper. NEXI subsequently announced it has
downgraded Cuba's Central Bank to a status where it no longer
qualifies for new export insurance. According to the Japan
External Trade Organization (JETRO) website, Japan exports to
Cuba in 2007 totalled $176.5 million, up from $127.9 million
in 2006. Japanese exports to Cuba are mainly medical
supplies and precision machinery.

3. (SBU) NEXI is supervised by METI. A responsible METI
official confirmed to Embassy the basic substance of the
Nikkei report but said "we have not decided to suspend
underwriting trade insurance for exports to Cuba." GOJ
officials, he added, are working diligently to resolve the
problem and the official hopes to provide the Embassy with
more information early next week.
SCHIEFFER

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