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OFAC Issues Cuban Asset Control Regulations focused on the U.S. Financial Sector

Today, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations to implement changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba announced by President Obama on December 17, 2014.

The amendments permit travel to Cuba for certain purposes and related services, modify remittances to Cuba and authorize related services, authorize certain transactions with Cuban nationals outside of Cuba, allow specific trade activity, and liberalize financial transactions with Cuba.

As a result of the amendments, and of particular interest to the U.S. financial sector:

  • Banking institutions, including U.S.-registered brokers or dealers in securities and U.S.-registered money transmitters, are authorized to provide services in connection with the collection or forwarding of remittances to Cuba.  Remittances of up to $2,000 in any consecutive three-month period are now permitted.

  • U.S. credit and debit cards may be used in Cuba for travel-related and other transactions, and U.S. financial institutions are permitted to enroll merchants and process such transactions.  The per diem limitation on authorized travelers’ spending in Cuba has been eliminated.

  • Certain micro-financing activities, such as for private businesses and agricultural operations, are authorized.

  • Depository institutions are authorized to open correspondent accounts at Cuban financial institutions to facilitate the processing of authorized transactions and to permit U.S. financial institutions to reject and process certain funds transfer transactions.

  • The regulatory interpretation of “cash in advance” is revised from “cash before shipment” to “cash before transfer of title or control” to allow expanded financing options for authorized exports to Cuba.

  • Accounts of Cuban nationals who have permanently relocated outside of Cuba are unblocked.

  • Funds transfers through the United States for personal expenditures of employees, grantees, and contractors, and persons who share a common dwelling as a family member of such individuals, of third-country official missions in Cuba or any intergovernmental organization in which the United States is a member or holds observer status in Cuba, are authorized.

We look forward to keeping you informed about the evolution of U.S. sanctions regarding Cuba and are available to help you analyze potential opportunities as well as to provide input to the decision-makers in Washington.

Copyright © 2023, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.National Law Review, Volume V, Number 15
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About this Author

Curtis Dombek, Attorney, Lawyer, Governmental Contracts, Sheppard Mullin Law Firm
Partner

Curt Dombek is a partner in the Government Contracts, Investigations & International Trade Practice Group. Curt divides his time between the firm's Brussels and Los Angeles offices.

Areas of Practice

Mr. Dombek has practiced since 1983 in the field of international trade. He advises clients on the full range of international regulatory issues, including civilian and military export controls, trade sanctions and blocking orders, Customs matters, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the USA Patriot Act, Free Trade Agreements, CFIUS reviews of foreign...

213-617-5595
J. Scott Maberry, Lawyer, Sheppard Mullin, International Trade, Trade Practice
Partner

Mr. Maberry is an International Trade partner in the Government Contracts, Investigations & International Trade Practice Group in the firm's Washington, D.C. office.

Areas of Practice

Mr. Maberry's expertise includes counseling and litigation in export controls, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), anti-terrorism, economic sanctions, anti-boycott controls, and Customs.  He also represents clients in negotiations and dispute resolution under the World Trade Organization (WTO), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and other multilateral and...

202-469-4975
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