Photo by David Cogswell
On Tuesday, the United States Treasury Department announced it would continue easing travel and export restrictions for Cuba as part of the ongoing effort to improve diplomatic relations between the two countries.
According to the Treasury Department’s official website, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security have made amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations Export Administration Regulations that took effect Wednesday.
Some of the amendments meant to broaden the relationship between the United States and Cuba include removing restrictions on payment and financing terms for authorized exports—like software and equipment from the civil aviation, telecommunications and agricultural industries—and facilitating more air carrier service between the nations.
In addition, the latest amendments expand travel authorizations in order to allow additional purposes for American citizens to visit Cuba, including temporary sojourn, professional meetings, public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic competitions and more.
Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew released a statement about the amendments:
“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 also released a statement:
“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.”