Cuba has purchased 125,000 tons of US wheat “over the past several days,” according to the US Wheat Associates, an industry group that promotes sales of American wheat abroad.

US Wheat Associates officials, accompanying wheat growers from Oklahoma and Texas, have been in Cuba meeting with food-buying officials. Details on delivery dates for the wheat were not available, according to a US Wheat Associates official.

According to the group, “More purchases (of wheat) are being negotiated” by Cuba.

Before this latest purchase, Cuba imported 346,000 tons of wheat in the current marketing year and there were outstanding sales of an additional 200,400 tons for delivery by May 31, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Communist-ruled Cuba currently can buy agricultural products from the United States if it pays cash. On Feb. 9, legislation was introduced in the US Senate to stop the Bush administration from tightening rules for American food exports to Cuba.

The measure was aimed at deliberations by the US Treasury Department that would require Cuba to prepay for American farm goods before they are shipped.

The legislation also would ease travel restrictions on Americans interested in selling agriculture goods to Cuba and would allow direct transactions between US and Cuban banks for financing food sales. Currently, third-country banks must be used for such transactions.

The fate of the legislation in the Republican-led Congress was uncertain. (Reuters)