US amends Cuba sanctions regulations

Jacob J. Lew, US Secretary of the Treasury, gestures during a press conference at the G7 Finance Ministers meeting in Dresden, eastern Germany, Friday, May 29, 2015.
Associated Press / Jens Meyer

The United States Departments of the Treasury and Commerce have made additional revisions to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR), building on the changes put into place by the departments earlier this year and further delivering on the new direction towards U.S. relations with Cuba that President Barack Obama laid out last December.

The Treasury Department said on Wednesday that the changes, consistent with the President’s December announcement, will take effect on Sept. 21, when the regulations are published in the U.S. Federal Register.

“Today’s announcement underscores the Administration’s commitment to promote constructive change for the Cuban people,” said U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew. “These regulatory changes build on the revisions implemented earlier this year and will further ease sanctions related to travel, telecommunications and internet-based services, business operations in Cuba and remittances.

“A stronger, more open US-Cuba relationship has the potential to create economic opportunities for both Americans and Cubans alike,” he added. “By further easing these sanctions, the United States is helping to support the Cuban people in their effort to achieve the political and economic freedom necessary to build a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba.”

Commerce Department Secretary Penny Pritzker said the regulations are designed to empower the Cuban people and support the emerging Cuban private sector, “bringing us one step closer to achieving President Obama’s historic policy goals.

“These actions build upon previous Commerce regulatory revisions, and will ease restrictions on authorized travel, enhance the safety of Americans traveling to the country, and allow more business opportunities for the nascent Cuban private sector,” she said. “These additional adjustments have the potential to stimulate long overdue economic reform across the country and improve the living standards of the Cuban people.”

The Treasury Department said these measures will further facilitate travel to Cuba for authorized purposes; and expand the telecommunications and internet-based services general licenses, including by authorizing certain persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction, which includes individuals and entities, to establish a business presence in Cuba, such as through subsidiaries or joint ventures.

The measures also allow certain persons to establish a physical presence, such as an office or other facility, in Cuba to facilitate authorized transactions and allow certain persons to open and maintain bank accounts in Cuba to use for authorized purposes.

Additionally, the measures authorize additional financial transactions, including those related to remittances; authorize all persons subject to US jurisdiction to provide goods and services to Cuban nationals located outside of Cuba; and allow a number of other activities, including those related to legal services, imports of gifts, and educational activities.

The Treasury Department said the amendments also implement “certain technical and conforming changes.”

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