U.S. Further Liberalizes Cuban Sanctions as President Obama Prepares to Travel to Cuba

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Friday, March 18, 2016
Bruce Zagaris
On March 15, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced significant amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR).  The changes, together with the announcement by the Departments of State and Transportation permitting scheduled air service between the U.S. and Cuba, will significantly increase the ability of U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba to directly engage with the Cuban people.  In addition, these regulations increase Cuba and Cuban nationals’ access to U.S. financial institutions and the U.S. dollar from Cuba, and will expand the ability for Cubans legally present in the U.S. to earn stipends and salaries beyond living expense.  These amendments expand the liberalization of Cuban sanctions President Obama announced in December 2014.  The changes took effect on March 16, 2016, when the regulations were published in the Federal Register.