trade with cuba

Cuba Policy Shift: Administration Eases Restrictions on Small Businesses

On May 28, 2024, the Biden administration announced new measures easing restrictions on independent small businesses in Cuba. The announcement follows a recent decision by the State Department to remove Cuba from the list of countries deemed uncooperative on counterterrorism. 

The Administration criticized the Cuban government in the announcement, saying: “We know the Cuban economy is in dire straits amid recurring shortages of fuel, electricity, increasingly even food. It’s clear the communist experiment of Cuba has failed, the government is no longer able to provide for its citizens’ most basic needs.” 

The new measures implemented by the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) include four main parts:

1. Authorized Internet-Based Services and Software.

Cuban small businesses will now be able to access additional internet-based services such as video conferencing, social media, maps, e-learning, automated translation, and other online services. 

U.S.-based entities will be allowed to provide cloud-based services to these small businesses. OFAC is also authorizing the export or reexport of Cuban-origin software and mobile applications from the United States to third countries.

2. Re-defining “Self-Employment.”

OFAC is scrapping the term “self-employed individual” and replacing it with a new term: “independent private sector entrepreneur.” The new term will still cover traditional self-employed individuals such as business owners, but it will also cover private cooperatives or small businesses that are wholly owned by such individuals. 

Build Your Own ‘People to People’ Mission & More Cuba Changes

 

If you have been following our Cuba updates, you’ll note we’ve been busy. A full listing of all of our posts to get you caught up are all the way at the bottom. Here’s the Cliff Notes version:

  • On December 17, 2014, President Obama made a historic announcement: “Today, the United States is taking historic steps to chart a new course in our relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people.”
  • By January 16, 2015, both the U.S. Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) amended its Cuban Assets Control Regulations, and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) amended the Export Administration Regulations with a “Support for the Cuban People” license exception. Both OFAC and BIS’s new rules were effective as of January 16, 2015.
  • OFAC and BIS issued additional new rules on June 15, 2015, September 21, 2015, January 27, 2016 and again today!

As far as travel goes, the NY Times posted their travel tips, but, here are MY travel tips to you:

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Top 10 Changes with Cuba as a Result of MORE NEW Revised OFAC and BIS Regulations

BIS and OFAC AND CUBAAs of January 27th, 2016, both OFAC and the BIS have amended their regulations again, and below details the top 10 changes as a result.  The last update was on September 21, 2015, and can be found here.  While the United States maintains its broad embargo on trade with Cuba, OFAC and BIS have released amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations designed to advance President Obama’s policy to engage and empower the Cuban people.  The new changes, which can be found here and here, expand the scope of authorized business and travel by U.S. person and companies inside of Cuba. These changes were put into place to help facilitate engagement between the U.S. and Cuba.  Click here to read FAQ’s related to Cuba from the OFAC.

Below we’ve providing you with a detailed summary of the top 10 significant changes:

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