New regulations announced for Cuban travel and business

Posted: 06-Feb-16 12:47

Barely one year since the United States and Cuba announced a renewed spirit of cooperation in regards to improving ties between the two countries, the U.S. government announces an easing of rules in regards to travel and business dealings. While a major step in the process, though, the new rules do not completely absolve past restrictions.

New regulations announced for Cuban travel and business

Eased regulations recently announced by the U.S. government aim to improve travel and business dealings between the United States and Cuba. The new amendments by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security and the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control add on to already existing rules and regulations.

They are part of the effort to resume a relationship between the two countries, announced by President Barack Obama in late 2014 after more than a half-century of restrictions. John Kavulich, U.S. Trade and Economic Council President describes the changes as significant in nature, adding:

“The Obama administration is attempting to increase pressures upon the government of Cuba by creating fewer political and commercial impediments to the initiatives first announced in December 2014.”

However, not everyone says the new rules go far enough, specifically when it comes to allowing Cuban and American businesses to forge new relationships. Still, though, the U.S. Commerce Secretary maintains that the new regulations will help with exports when it comes to things like food processing, preparing for disasters, plus agriculture, education, the arts and public transportation.

One major addition to the rules has to do with the impact it could have on travelers in the future. New regulations allow for leasing arrangements, code-sharing and blocked space in regards to Cuban airlines. In other words, the rules could really impact aviation guidelines in the future. Already, the new rules ease up on transactions when it comes to events and professional meetings, as well as artistic productions and journalism.

However, the rules do not generally affect individuals traveling to Cuba as part of the U.S. government-sanctioned tours of People-to-People. This program has grown considerably with tours and travelers since President Obama’s announcement more than a year ago.

There has been some movement, though, in diplomatic relationships between the countries of Cuba and the United States. In July 2015 the embassies in Washington D.C. and Havana were reopened. This marks a major turning point in diplomatic efforts, as it has been more than a half-century since either of the countries has had a diplomatic office in the other’s capital.


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