While President Obama has started the process to remove Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, other immediate changes to the US’s Cuba sanctions policy are already having an impact. On January 15, the US Treasury Department and US Commerce Department issued amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), respectively. Notable amendments include:
- The limits on periodic remittances that may be sent to Cuban nationals have been raised from $500 per quarter to $2,000 per quarter.
- Under the new general licenses, banking institutions are permitted to process authorized remittances to Cuba without having to obtain a specific license.
- Authorized travelers in Cuba may now use credit cards, debit cards, travelers’ checks, and other financial instruments issued by US financial institutions.
- US banking institutions may confirm or advise a banking institution in a third country on the financing of exports from the United States to Cuba.
- Depository institutions are permitted to open correspondent accounts at banks in Cuba. However, Cuban banks are still not generally licensed to open such accounts at US banks.
- Twelve categories of travel to Cuba by US citizens, US residents and individuals located in the United States which were previously permitted only with special licenses and under certain restrictions will now be permitted by general license. General tourist travel will remain prohibited.
- Travel agents and airlines will be able to provide authorized travel and carrier services without seeking specific licenses.
- Certain consumer communications products and software (such as computers, mobile phones, televisions, radios, digital cameras and certain telecommunications and information security-related software) can now be exported or re-exported under Commerce’s Consumer Communication Devices (CCD) license exception to eligible recipients in Cuba. A list of the eligible items is located in Section 740.19(b) of the EAR. Eligible recipients are individuals in Cuba, other than certain Cuban Government and Communist Party officials, and independent non-governmental organizations in Cuba. Organizations administered or controlled by the Cuban Government or the Cuban Communist Party, including schools and hospitals, are not eligible recipients.
- OFAC is generally authorizing commercial telecommunications services linking the United States and Cuba, as well as such services within Cuba. US communications companies are now authorized to establish roaming service agreements with service providers in Cuba and to establish facilities to provide telecommunications within Cuba or between Cuba and the United States, such as fiber-optic cable and satellite facilities.
Source: Sherman & Sterling