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US Puts Measures In Place To Ease Cuban Travel, Trade, Financial Restrictions

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After President Obama’s announcement last month of normalized relations with Cuba, changes in travel to Cuba and sanctions against Cuban business officially take effect today, when the new regulations are published in the Federal Register.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on Thursday that “today’s announcement takes us one step closer to replacing out of date policies that were not working and puts in place a policy that helps promote political and economic freedom for the Cuban people. These revised regulations, together with those issued by the Commerce Department, will implement the policies on easing sanctions related to travel, remittances, trade, and banking announced by the president on December 17.”

These measures will facilitate travel to Cuba for authorized purposes, facilitate the provision by travel agents and airlines of authorized travel services and the forwarding by certain entities of authorized remittances, raise the limits on and generally authorize certain categories of remittances to Cuba, allow US financial institutions to open correspondent accounts at Cuban financial institutions to facilitate the processing of authorized transactions, authorize certain transactions with Cuban nationals located outside of Cuba, and allow a number of other activities related to, among other areas, telecommunications, financial services, trade, and shipping. Persons must comply with all provisions of the revised regulations; violations of the terms and conditions could result in penalties under US law.

“These changes will have a direct impact in further engaging and empowering the Cuban people, promoting positive change for Cuba’s citizens. The amended regulations also will facilitate authorized business for US exporters and enhance communications and commerce between Cuba and the United States. To the extent legally possible, the president has made clear that we want US policy to ease the burdens on the Cuban citizens we seek to help,” Lew added.

“Cuba has real potential for economic growth and by increasing travel, commerce, communications, and private business development between the United States and Cuba, the United States can help the Cuban people determine their own future,” he concluded.

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