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U.S. Further Eases Rules on Trade with Cuba

The Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Bureau of Industry and Security are amending the Cuban Assets Control Regulations and the Export Administration Regulations effective 17 October to further normalise relations between the United States and Cuba. Among other things these changes will expand and streamline authorisations relating to trade and commerce, including the following.

Imports
OFAC is removing the monetary value limitations on what authorised travellers may import from Cuba as accompanied baggage, including on alcohol and tobacco products. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction will be authorised to import Cuban-origin goods acquired in third countries as accompanied baggage, also without value limitations. OFAC is removing the prohibition on foreign travellers importing Cuban-origin alcohol and tobacco products as accompanied baggage. In all cases, the Cuban-origin goods must be imported for personal use and normal limits on duty and tax exemptions will apply.

OFAC is adding an authorisation that will allow the importation into the United States or a third country of items that were previously exported or re-exported to Cuba pursuant to a BIS or OFAC authorisation. This authorisation will also permit persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to service and repair such items. Exporting or re-exporting replacement items or items that have been repaired or serviced must be separately authorised by OFAC and/or BIS as appropriate.

Exports
OFAC is amending its general licence authorising certain transactions incident to exports and re-exports authorised by BIS to eliminate references to 100 percent U.S.-origin items. This is intended to minimise and clarify the circumstances in which an export or re-export authorised by BIS requires additional licencing by OFAC. This general licence does not authorise any transaction between a U.S.-owned or –controlled firm in a third country and Cuba for the exportation to Cuba of commodities produced in a country other than the United States or Cuba. BIS will generally authorise exports of certain consumer goods that are sold on-line or through other means directly to eligible individuals in Cuba for their personal use.

OFAC is also making a technical correction to clarify that agricultural items, such as pesticides and tractors, authorised by BIS for export or re-export to Cuba are not subject to restrictions on payment terms. Authorised exports and re-exports to Cuba of agricultural commodities, such as poultry and corn, remain subject to the limited payment and financing terms of cash in advance or third-country financing.

Contingent Contracts
OFAC is adding an expanded general licence that will authorise persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to enter into certain contingent contracts for transactions currently prohibited by the embargo provided that contract performance is made expressly contingent on prior authorisation by OFAC and any other relevant federal agency or on authorisation no longer being required. Transactions ordinarily incident to negotiating and entering into such contracts will also be authorised.

Cargo Transportation
OFAC is issuing a general licence that will waive the prohibition on foreign vessels entering a U.S. port for purposes of loading or unloading freight for 180 days after calling on a Cuban port for trade purposes if the items the vessel carried to Cuba would, if subject to the EAR, be designated as EAR99 or controlled on the Commerce Control List for anti-terrorism reasons only.

BIS will generally authorise air cargo to transit Cuba, complementing an existing general authorisation for cargo transiting Cuba aboard vessels.

Infrastructure
OFAC is adding a new authorisation that will allow persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to provide services to Cuba or Cuban nationals related to developing, repairing, maintaining and enhancing certain Cuban infrastructure in order to directly benefit the Cuban people.

Civil Aviation
OFAC is adding a new authorisation that will allow persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to provide civil aviation safety-related services to Cuba and Cuban nationals aimed at promoting safety in civil aviation and the safe operation of commercial aircraft.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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