Amendments to US trade sanctions: there’s no turning back now

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There’s no turning back now.  The amendments to US trade sanctions which remove restrictions on payments and financing, trade and travel is the big news of the week.  New US government loosening of the US trade embargo against Cuba and the new regulations are a benefit to both Cuba and American trade relations and business interests.  The amendments effect financing, exports, telecommunications, agriculture, civil aviation safety, air carrier services, travel, humanitarian projects, sports and more.  The original article first appeared on Mondovisione website.

The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) are announcing new amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR), respectively. These amendments further implement the new direction toward Cuba that President Obama laid out in December 2014. The changes will take effect on January 27, 2016, when the regulations are published in the Federal Register. The new amendments are outlined below.

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said, “Today’s amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations build on successive actions over the last year and send a clear message to the world: the United States is committed to empowering and enabling economic advancements for the Cuban people. We have been working to enable the free flow of information between Cubans and Americans and will continue to take the steps necessary to help the Cuban people achieve the political and economic freedom that they deserve.”

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said, “Following the first ever U.S.-Cuba Regulatory Dialogue and my fact-finding trip to Cuba in October, we have been working tirelessly to maximize the beneficial impact of U.S. regulatory changes on the Cuban people. Today’s Commerce rule builds on previous changes by authorizing additional exports including for such purposes as disaster preparedness; education; agricultural production; artistic endeavors; food processing; and public transportation. These regulatory changes will also facilitate exports that will help strengthen civil society in Cuba and enhance communications to, from and among the Cuban people. Looking ahead, we will continue to support greater economic independence and increased prosperity for the Cuban people, as we take another step toward building a more open and mutually beneficial relationship between our two nations.”

These amendments will remove existing restrictions on payment and financing terms for authorized exports and reexports to Cuba of items other than agricultural items or commodities, and establish a case-by-case licensing policy for exports and reexports of items to meet the needs of the Cuban people, including those made to Cuban state-owned enterprises. These amendments will further facilitate travel to Cuba for authorized purposes by allowing blocked space, code-sharing, and leasing arrangements with Cuban airlines; authorizing additional travel-related and other transactions directly incident to the temporary sojourn of aircraft and vessels; and authorizing additional transactions related to professional meetings and other events, disaster preparedness and response projects, and information and informational materials, including transactions incident to professional media or artistic productions in Cuba.

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