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OFAC and BIS Amend Cuba Sanctions Regulations

OFAC and US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) have each issued new regulations implementing President Trump’s June 2017 National Security Presidential Memorandum on Cuba (the “Cuba NSPM”).

On 9 November, OFAC published amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (31 C.F.R. Part 515) in the Federal Register. The amendments implement the shift in US policy toward Cuba announced in the Cuba NSPM by, among other things, modifying the general licenses for travel to Cuba for certain educational and people-to-people exchanges, and restricting certain direct financial transaction by US persons with Cuban government and military entities. According to OFAC’s announcement, the amendments are “intended to channel economic activities away from the Cuban military, intelligence, and security services, while maintaining opportunities for Americans to engage in authorized travel to Cuba and support the private, small business sector in Cuba”. In conjunction with this amendment, OFAC has published new and updated FAQs and a Fact Sheet.

For its part, BIS has published a final rule amending the licencing policy for Cuba and three licence exceptions. The amended licence exceptions include those for Gift Parcels and Humanitarian Donations (GFT), Consumer Communications Devices (CCD) and Support for the Cuban People (SCP). In accordance with the Cuba NSPM, BIS will now generally deny licence applications for exports and re-exports to Cuba of items for use by certain entities or subentities of the Cuban government, as identified on the State Department’s List of Restricted Entities and Subentities associated with Cuba (the so-called “Cuba Restricted List”), unless determined to be consistent with the Cuba NSPM. The rule further amends the list of ineligible Cuban government offcials in License Exceptions GFT (§ 740.12), CCD (§ 740.19) and SCP (§ 740.21). BIS has published updated FAQs and a Joint Fact Sheet explaining the measures implementing the Cuba NSPM.

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