U.S. Continues Incremental Easing of Cuban Sanctions

September 22, 2015

New U.S. regulations effective September 21, 2015 have provided additional modest relief from the U.S. embargo against Cuba. However, general travel and tourism in Cuba remain prohibited to persons acting within U.S. jurisdiction, as does most commercial and financial activity. The main impact of the new regulations is to further expand and facilitate previously announced authorizations for travel and trade with Cuba, reducing friction encountered by those trying to take advantage of prior policy changes by addressing some of the most frequently encountered issues.

Most notably, the new rules:

  • Permit persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to establish a physical presence in Cuba and hire Cuban or expatriate staff to conduct authorized activities;
  • Promote the provision of telecommunication, postal, and other communications services between the United States and Cuba, including by permitting the establishment of local companies, joint ventures, and other business arrangements in Cuba to provide and market telecommunications services;
  • Slightly loosen certain restrictions on the existing twelve categories of authorized travel to Cuba;
  • Facilitate remittance, inheritance, and similar transactions between Cuba and the United States;
  • Encourage the development of messaging and other software in Cuba aimed at promoting the free flow of information and the development of civil society; and
  • Ease restrictions on the provision and use of bank accounts by Cuban nationals present in the United States and American nationals present in Cuba pursuant to OFAC authorization.