At the start of this week the United States brought into force changes to its Cuba sanctions regime, building on steps taken by the US Treasury and Department for Commerce in January to ease sanctions on the country (see previous blog).
The new changes further facilitate travel to Cuba for authorised purposes, broaden the existing general export licences for telecommunications and internet services, authorise certain US persons to establish a business presence in Cuba to facilitate authorised transactions, allow certain persons to open and maintain bank accounts in Cuba, authorise additional financial transactions, including remittances, and allow several other activities such as provision of legal services, provision of education, and the import of gifts. The general US trade embargo on Cuba remains in force.
In the US Treasury’s press release, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew explained the changes by noting “the potential to create economic opportunities for both Americans and Cubans”, and the importance of supporting “the Cuban people in their effort to achieve the political and economic freedom necessary to build a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba”.
The Treasury has also published a new FAQ on US sanctions against Cuba, covering the most recent changes, how they will be implemented, and what they mean for persons within US jurisdiction.