OFAC Updates Cuba-Related FAQ Document

On April 21, 2016, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) updated its FAQ document related to Cuba. This document contains answers to several questions regarding information about Cuba such as Embargo, Travel, and Trade/Business. Recently, the OFAC updated information related to Banking, Trade/Business, and Telecommunications. The FAQ document was first published in December 2014 as a result of President Obama’s announcement to restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba. The FAQ document is updated regularly to reflect changes to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations and provide the most up-to-date information on the United States’ relations with Cuba.

To read the Treasury’s FAQ document, click here.

Rachel is an intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.

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OFAC Further Amends the Cuban Assets Control Regulations Regarding Travel and Financial Transactions

The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations to further implement elements of the policy announced by the President on December 17, 2014 to engage and empower the Cuban people. These additional changes were published in the Federal Register on March 16, 2016.

OFAC has made amendments to the Regulations with respect to travel and related transactions, financial transactions, and business and physical presence. Among other things, these amendments further facilitate travel to Cuba for authorized purposes, expand the range of authorized financial transactions, and authorize additional business and physical presence in Cuba. The amendments also implement certain technical and conforming changes.

Travel and Related Transactions:

OFAC has amended section 515.565(b) to remove the requirement that people-to-people educational travel be conducted under the auspices of an organization that sponsors such exchanges. This section now authorizes individuals to travel to Cuba provided that, among other things, the traveler engages while in Cuba in a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that are intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities, and that will result in meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba. The predominant portion of the activities engaged in by the traveler must NOT be with certain Government of Cuba or Cuban Communist Party officials. Persons relying upon this authorization must retain records related to the authorized travel transactions, including records demonstrating a full-time schedule of authorized activities.

OFAC has amended section 515.571 to remove the limitation on the receipt of compensation in excess of amounts covering living expenses and the acquisition of goods for personal consumption by a Cuban national present in the United States in a nonimmigrant status or pursuant to other non-immigrant travel authorization issued by the U.S. government. New section (a)(5)(i) explicitly authorizes the receipt of any salary or other compensation consistent with the individual’s non-immigrant status or other non-immigrant travel authorization, provided that the recipient is not subject to any special tax assessment by the Cuban government in connection with the receipt of the salary or other compensation. New section 515.571(e) authorizes all transactions related to the sponsorship or hiring of a Cuban national to work in the United States and provides that an employer may not make additional payments to the Cuban government in connection with the sponsorship or hiring of a Cuban national. This section also authorizes transactions in connection with the filing of an application for non-immigrant travel authorization. OFAC has added section 515.585(c) to authorize individuals who are persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction and who are located in a third country to engage in the purchase or acquisition of merchandise subject to the prohibitions in section 515.204, including Cuban-origin goods, for personal consumption while in a third country, and to receive or obtain services from Cuba or a Cuban national that are ordinarily incident to travel and maintenance within a third country. This provision does not authorize the importation of such merchandise into the United States, including as accompanied baggage.

Financial Transactions:

OFAC has authorized U-turn transactions, in which Cuba or a Cuban national has an interest to be conducted through the U.S. financial system. This provision authorizes funds transfers from a bank outside the United States that pass through one or more U.S. financial institutions before being transferred to a bank outside the United States where neither the originator nor the beneficiary is a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction

OFAC has added a new section to authorize U.S. banking institutions to process U.S. dollar monetary instruments presented indirectly by Cuban financial institutions. Correspondent accounts used for transactions authorized pursuant to this section may be denominated in U.S. dollars. This section does not authorize banking institutions subject to U.S. jurisdiction to open correspondent accounts for banking institutions that are nationals of Cuba.

OFAC has added another new section to authorize banking institutions to open and maintain accounts solely in the name of a Cuban national located in Cuba for the purposes only of receiving payments in the United States in connection with transactions authorized pursuant to or exempt from the prohibitions of this part and remitting such payments to Cuba. This provision would allow, for example, a Cuban national author located in Cuba to open an account with a bank or online payment platform in the United States to receive payments for sales of her book.

Business and Physical Presence:

In September 2015, OFAC amended sections 515.542 and 515.578 to authorize persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to establish and maintain a business presence in Cuba, including through subsidiaries, branches, offices, joint ventures, franchises, and agency or other business relationships with any Cuban individual or entity, to facilitate the provision of authorized telecommunications and internet-based services. OFAC has now expanded this authorization to establish a business presence to include the following additional categories of persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction (all of whom were previously authorized to establish a physical presence): exporters of goods authorized for export or reexport to Cuba by section 515.533 or section 515.559 or that are otherwise exempt; entities providing mail or parcel transmission services authorized by section 515.542(a) or providing cargo transportation services in connection with trade involving Cuba authorized by or exempt from the prohibitions of this part; and providers of travel and carrier services authorized by section 515.572. OFAC has clarified that the business and physical presence authorization for providers of internet-based services extends to persons engaged in transactions authorized by section 515.578(e). OFAC has removed the prior provisions authorizing business presence that were located in sections 515.542 and 515.578 and consolidated these authorizations in section 515.573.

In September 2015, OFAC amended section 515.573 to authorize certain persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to establish a physical presence, such as an office or other facility, in Cuba, to facilitate authorized transactions. OFAC has now expanded this authorization to include the following additional categories of persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction: entities engaging in non-commercial activities authorized by section 515.574 (Support for the Cuban People); entities engaging in humanitarian projects set forth in section 515.575(b) (Humanitarian projects); and private foundations or research or educational institutes engaging in transactions authorized by section 515.576. OFAC has also added a note to clarify that the activities that may be carried out by exporters of items exported or reexported pursuant to authorization by the Department of Commerce or OFAC, or that are otherwise exempt, at a physical presence authorized by this section include the assembly of such items.

Other Transactions:

OFAC has added a new provision to authorize the provision of educational grants, scholarships, or awards to a Cuban national or in which Cuba or a Cuban national otherwise has an interest. This could include, for example, the provision of educational scholarships for Cuban students to pursue academic studies for a degree. OFAC has amended section 515.578 to allow the importation of Cuban-origin software. OFAC has also made several technical and conforming edits.

The above information is taken from OFAC’s final rule regarding these amendments. To read more about these regulations, read the full rule here.

Rachel is an intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.

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UN Security Council Tightens and Expands Sanctions Against North Korea

On March 2, 2016, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2270 imposing new sanctions and tightening old measures against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The resolution is in response to the area’s ongoing nuclear and ballistic missile activities that pose a threat to international peace and security. The new sanctions build on the Security Council’s previous measures aimed at the DPRK’s nuclear program and make it harder for the DPRK to raise funds and import technology as well as imposing mandatory inspections of cargo to and from the DPRK.

Highlights of Resolution 2270 include:

  • Condemning the DPRK’s January 6 nuclear test and February 7 launch;
  • Imposing measures to contrail the DPRK’s conventional arms capabilities;
  • Targeting the DPRK’s proliferation networks to limit the DPRK’s ability to smuggle and evade sanctions;
  • Banning specialized teaching or training for DPRK nationals in various scientific and engineering fields that could contribute to DPRK’s proliferation-sensitive activities;
  • Enforcing new cargo inspection and maritime procedures to limit the DPRK’s ability to transfer UN-prohibited items;
  • And imposing sectoral sanctions targeting the DPRK’s trade in resources and new financial sanctions targeting banks and assets.

The resolution also reiterates the importance of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and expresses the importance of international cooperation to keep not only the region but the world safe. Resolution 2270 mentions the Council’s determination in taking further significant measures in the event of future DPRK nuclear tests or launches.

To read more information about Resolution 2270, visit the United States Mission to the United Nations’ press release. To read the full resolution, click here.

Rachel is an intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.

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United States and Cuba Sign Deal to Restore Commercial Flights

Last week, U.S. and Cuban transportation officials signed an arrangement that re-establishes commercial air services between the United States and Cuba for the first time in over 50 years. The new arrangement allows U.S. carriers to operate up to a total of 110 daily roundtrip flights between the U.S. and Cuba. This includes up to 20 daily roundtrip flights between the U.S. and Havana and up to 10 daily roundtrip flights between the U.S. and each of Cuba’s nine other international airports. This agreement is another step in plan to restore diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba that the Obama Administration announced in 2014.

The air service arrangement facilitates visits for travelers that fall under one of 12 categories: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and certain authorized export transactions.

U.S. airlines have until March 2, 2016 to submit applications outlining their planned routes to Cuba. After that, the Department of Transportation will choose which U.S. carriers will be able to offer scheduled flights to Cuba. The DOT will select the proposals that offer and maintain the best service to the traveling and shipping public.

For more information on this announcement, please visit the Department of Transportation’s press release on the matter.

Rachel is an intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.

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Following US and EU Lead, Canada Lifts Sanctions Against Iran

Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Dion, announced on January 26, 2016 that Canada will be lifting some of its economic sanctions against Iran. This announcement comes shortly after the United States and the European Union began lifting their sanctions brought in against Iran’s nuclear program. For Canada, this announcement means that Canadian companies would be allowed to join US and EU companies who are rushing to do business with Iran. Dion has said that that Canada will remain suspicious of the Iranian regime and work in conjunction with allies to ensure that nuclear activity is prevented.

To read more about this announcement, please visit the following articles:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/26/canada-lift-sanctions-iran

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-canada-iran-sanctions-idUSKCN0V42IL

To read more about the history of Canadian sanctions against Iran, click here.

Rachel is an intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.

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Updated Cuban Assets Control Regulations Will Be Published Tomorrow

The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced today, January 26, that they are amending the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (“CACR”) to further deliver on improving the United States’ relationship with Cuba. These changes are an effort to continue to implement the new policy direction announced by President Obama in December 2014. With these amendments, the OFAC intends to further engage and empower the Cuban people and promote political, economic,  and social reform by easing sanctions related to trade, travel, banking, and humanitarian projects. These changes will take effect tomorrow, January 27, and will be published in the Federal Register.

For more on these changes, please visit the OFAC’s press release on this topic. You may also read these amended regulations in full here.

Rachel is an intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.

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Sanctions Against Iran Are Lifted

On January 16, 2016, the United States and European nations lifted oil and financial sanctions that have been imposed against Iran since 1979. These actions signal what is being called “Implementation Day” which refers to the implementation of the JCPOA, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Implementation Day was officially declared on January 16, 2016 according to a press release from the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The JCPOA is the agreement announced in July of 2015 between the P5+1 (five permanent members of the UN Security Council including China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany), the European Union, and Iran which puts an end to Iran’s nuclear program.

The sanctions have been lifted after the International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear monitoring agency of the United Nations, verified that certain steps had been taken by Iran to ensure that all nuclear activities are limited. These steps included: reducing Iran’s low-enriched uranium stockpile by 98 percent, leaving an amount insufficient for weapons; dismantling 12,000 centrifuges that are used to enrich uranium; and removing and disabling the core of the nuclear reactor in Arak. Since Iran has complied with these stipulations outlined in the agreement, the sanctions were automatically lifted. This has enabled Iran to gain control of approximately $100 billion dollars previously kept in frozen foreign accounts.

The European Union lifted restrictions on trade and investment in oil, metals, shipping, petrochemicals, and shipbuilding as well as banking and insurance. Iran will now be able to connect with the rest of the world on an economic level, something that they have been isolated from for many decades. Certain sanctions still remain in effect such as a trade embargo that greatly restricts most American business with Iran. This embargo disables Iran from using the American banking system which is an important piece to fully participate in global commerce.

For more information on the lifting of Iranian sanctions and to see what the next steps will be, please visit this article in the New York Times titled “With Iran Nuclear Deal Implemented, What Happens Next?”

For more information on JCPOA, visit our previous Beyond Borders blog post that outlines the highlights of the plan or visit the State Department’s website.

Rachel is an intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.

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Final Trans-Pacific Partnership Text is Released

This morning, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office published the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership setting up intense discussions in Congress about the agreement’s provisions on intellectual property, agriculture, labor, and many other areas. The 12-nation agreement consists of 30 chapters focusing on various issues and is now available for public viewing. For more information on the release visit this article.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative outlines the five defining features of the TPP agreement including:

  • Comprehensive market access: The TPP eliminates or reduces tariff and non-tariff barriers across substantially all trade in goods and services and covers the full spectrum of trade, including goods and services trade and investment, so as to create new opportunities and benefits for our businesses, workers, and consumers.
  • Regional approach to commitments: The TPP facilitates the development of production and supply chains, and seamless trade, enhancing efficiency and supporting our goal of creating and supporting jobs, raising living standards, enhancing conservation efforts, and facilitating cross-border integration, as well as opening domestic markets.
  • Addressing new trade challenges: The TPP promotes innovation, productivity, and competitiveness by      addressing new issues, including the development of the digital economy, and the role of state-owned enterprises in the global economy.
  • Inclusive trade: The TPP includes new elements that seek to ensure that economies at all levels of development and businesses of all sizes can benefit from trade.  It includes commitments to help small- and medium-sized businesses understand the Agreement, take advantage of its opportunities, and bring their unique challenges to the attention of the TPP governments
  • Platform or regional integration: The TPP is intended as a platform for regional economic integration and designed to include additional economies across the Asia-Pacific region.

The full text of the TPP can also be found on the United States Trade Representative website.

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Pacific Rim Nations Agree to Pacific Pact to Promote Economic Growth

The Ministers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries reached a conclusion to their negotiations on October 4, 2015. The TPP is a trade agreement between many Pacific Rim countries – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam – concerning various matters of economic policy. The result of these negotiations is a high-standard and comprehensive agreement that will promote economic growth, support the creation and retention of jobs, enhance innovation and productivity, raise living standards, reduce poverty, and promote transparency. The TPP sets a new standard for global trade while also targeting next-generation issues related to the Internet and the digital economy and the participation of state-owned enterprises in international trade and investment. The TPP also gives the opportunity of unifying many countries diverse by geography, language, history, size, and levels of development.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative outlines the five defining features of the TPP agreement including:

  • Comprehensive market access: The TPP eliminates or reduces tariff and non-tariff barriers across substantially all trade in goods and services and covers the full spectrum of trade, including goods and services trade and investment, so as to create new opportunities and benefits for our businesses, workers, and consumers.
  • Regional approach to commitments:   The TPP facilitates the development of production and supply chains, and seamless trade, enhancing efficiency and supporting our goal of creating and supporting jobs, raising living standards, enhancing conservation efforts, and facilitating cross-border integration, as well as opening domestic markets.
  • Addressing new trade challenges:  The TPP promotes innovation, productivity, and competitiveness by addressing new issues, including the development of the digital economy, and the role of state-owned enterprises in the global economy.
  • Inclusive trade:  The TPP includes new elements that seek to ensure that economies at all levels of development and businesses of all sizes can benefit from trade.  It includes commitments to help small- and medium-sized businesses understand the Agreement, take advantage of its opportunities, and bring their unique challenges to the attention of the TPP governments
  • Platform for regional integration.  The TPP is intended as a platform for regional economic integration and designed to include additional economies across the Asia-Pacific region.

The TPP consists of 30 chapters that cover trade and trade-related issues. To see a summary of the 30 chapters and for more information on the agreement, visit USTR’s “Summary of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.”

Rachel is an intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.

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U.S. Departments of the Treasury and Commerce Announce Additional Revisions to Cuba Sanctions Regulations

Last week, the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Commerce announced additional revisions to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR), building off the changes put into place by Treasury and Commerce on January 16, 2015. These changes further deliver on President Obama’s plans to improve diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba which he announced December of 2014.  The new revisions took effect Monday, September 21, 2015, when the regulations were published in the Federal Register.

The Treasury website outlines the major elements of the changes in the revised regulations which are listed below (taken from the Treasury’s press release):

Travel – Facilitating authorized travel and commerce, increasing contact between Americans and Cubans, and supporting civil society in Cuba:

  • Transportation by vessel of authorized travelers – between the United States and Cuba only and without stops in third countries – will be authorized by general license.  Certain related lodging services aboard vessels used for such travel will also be authorized.
  • License Exception Aircraft, Vessels, and Spacecraft (AVS) will authorize temporary sojourns to Cuba of certain categories of vessels.  Eligible categories of vessels are cargo vessels for hire for use in the transportation of items; passenger vessels for hire for use in the transportation of passengers and/or items; and recreational vessels that are used in connection with travel authorized by the Treasury.
  • License Exception AVS will authorize aircraft on temporary sojourn to remain in Cuba for up to 7 consecutive days and authorizes vessels on temporary sojourn to remain in Cuba for up to 14 consecutive days.
  • Close relatives will be allowed to visit or accompany authorized travelers for certain additional activities.  In the January changes, OFAC permitted close relatives to join visits related to official government business and certain educational activities, and to visit additional family members residing in Cuba.  Close relatives now also will be allowed to visit or accompany authorized travelers for additional educational activities, journalistic activity, professional research, and religious activities, as well as activities related to humanitarian projects and activities of private foundations or certain research or educational institutes.  For purposes of this provision, a close relative is defined as someone related to a person by blood, marriage, or adoption – and who is no more than three generations removed from that person or a common ancestor with that person.
  • All authorized travelers will be allowed to open and maintain bank accounts in Cuba in order to access funds for authorized transactions while in Cuba.

Telecommunications & Internet-Based Services – Enhancing the free flow of information to, from, and within Cuba, and better providing efficient and adequate telecommunications services between the United States and Cuba:

  • Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction will be allowed to establish a business presence in Cuba, including through joint ventures with Cuban entities, to provide certain telecommunications and internet-based services, as well as to enter into licensing agreements related to, and to market, such services.
  • Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction will be allowed to import Cuban-origin mobile applications into the United States and to hire Cuban nationals to develop them.
  • An existing authorization for the provision of services related to certain consumer communications devices exported to Cuba will be expanded to authorize services related to additional types of items authorized by Commerce, and to add training related to the installation, repair, or replacement of those items.
  • License Exception Consumer Communications Devices (CCD) will no longer be limited to sales or donations.  This change to License Exception CCD is intended to support other types of transactions, such as leases and loans of eligible items for use by eligible end-users.

Commercial and Financial Transactions – Refocusing sanctions so they do not prevent day-to-day transactions by Cuban individuals who are outside of Cuba:

  • All persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction will be allowed to provide goods and services to individual Cuban nationals located outside of Cuba, provided there is no commercial exportation of goods or services to or from Cuba.
  • Banking institutions will be able to open and maintain accounts for Cuban individuals for use while the Cuban national is located outside of Cuba, and to close such accounts.

Physical Presence and Operations in Cuba – Facilitating certain authorized activities involving Cuba:

  • Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction engaging in the following categories of authorized activities will be allowed to establish and maintain a physical presence, such as an office, retail outlet, or warehouse, in Cuba: news bureaus; exporters of certain goods authorized for export or reexport to Cuba by Commerce and OFAC, such as agricultural products and materials for construction or renovation of privately-owned buildings; entities providing mail or parcel transmission services or certain cargo transportation services; providers of telecommunications or internet-based services; entities organizing or conducting educational activities; religious organizations; and providers of carrier and certain travel services.  These individuals and entities will also be authorized to employ Cuban nationals, open and maintain bank accounts in Cuba, and employ persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction in Cuba.

Support for the Cuban People – Improving living conditions, strengthening civil society, and supporting independent economic activity by the Cuban people: 

  • License Exception Support for the Cuban People (SCP) will authorize certain exports and reexports of items to Cuba for use in establishing, maintaining, and operating a physical presence in Cuba.  Eligible end-users of the items include certain persons providing telecommunications or internet-based services; establishing telecommunications facilities; providing travel or carrier services; organizing or conducting educational activities; or transporting authorized items between the United States and Cuba.
  • License Exception SCP will no longer be limited to sales or donations.  This change to License Exception SCP is intended to support other types of transactions, such as leases and loans of eligible items for use by eligible end-users.
  • Certain temporary reexports from a foreign country to Cuba will be authorized by License Exception SCP when the items are for use in scientific, archeological, cultural, ecological, educational, historic preservation, sporting activities, or in the traveler’s professional research and meetings.  Previously, this provision was limited to temporary exports by persons departing the United States.
  • Certain commodities and software for use in software development may be exported or reexported to eligible end-users in Cuba pursuant to License Exception SCP.
  • License Exception SCP will authorize temporary exports and reexports to Cuba of additional categories of items, including certain tools of trade to install, service, or repair items; and certain commodities and software for exhibition or demonstration.

Remittances – Empowering Cubans with opportunities for self-employment, and in turn strengthening independent civil society:

  • The limits on donative remittances to Cuban nationals other than prohibited Cuban Government or Cuban Communist Party officials, currently set at $2,000 per quarter, will be removed entirely.  The limits on authorized remittances that individuals may carry to Cuba, previously $10,000 for persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction and $3,000 for Cuban nationals, will also be removed entirely.
  • The unblocking and return of remittances that were previously blocked because they exceeded the then-applicable caps on periodic remittances, and of certain previously blocked funds transfers, will be allowed.
  • Depository institutions will be allowed to maintain accounts for certain Cuban nationals present in the United States in a non-immigrant status, and will no longer be required to block such accounts if not closed before the Cuban national’s departure.  Access to such accounts will be limited to while the Cuban national is lawfully present in the United States, although the account may remain open while the Cuban national is not in the United States.  The $250 monthly limit on payments from previously blocked accounts held in the name of such Cuban nationals will be removed to more adequately allow access to funds for living expenses.
  • Remittances from Cuba and from Cuban nationals in third countries to the United States will be authorized by general license, and financial institutions will be allowed to provide related services.
  • An expanded general license also will authorize additional remittances to Cuban nationals in connection with the administration of estates.  This provision complements another general license authorizing all transactions incident to the administration and distribution of the assets of estates in which a Cuban national has an interest.

Legal Services – Updating the legal services provisions:

  • OFAC’s existing general license authorizing the provision of certain legal services to Cuba and Cuban nationals will be expanded to allow the receipt of payment for such services. Certain limitations will apply, related to payments from prohibited Cuban Government or Cuban Communist Party officials.  Additionally, a new general license will authorize persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to receive, and make payment for, certain legal services from Cuba or Cuban nationals.

Civil Aviation Safety – Supporting international aviation and passenger safety:

  • A case-by-case review policy will apply to license applications for exports and reexports to Cuba of items to help ensure the safety of civil aviation and the safe operation of commercial passenger aircraft.  Items that are to be reviewed pursuant to this policy include aircraft parts and components; software and technology related to safety of flight; air traffic control, aviation communications, and aviation weather related equipment; airport safety equipment; and devices used for security screening of passengers and baggage.

Gift Imports – Allowing certain gifts:

  • Imports of merchandise from Cuba or Cuban-origin merchandise from a third country intended as gifts, excluding alcohol and tobacco products, will be allowed to be sent to the United States provided that the merchandise is not carried by a traveler, the value of the merchandise is not more than $100, and the item is a type and in quantities normally given as a gift.

Educational Activities – Increasing contact between American and Cubans and enhancing the free flow of information to, from, and among the Cuban people:

  • Under an expanded general license, additional educational activities involving Cuba and Cuban nationals, including the provision of standardized testing services and internet-based courses, will be authorized.
  • Academic exchanges and joint non-commercial academic research with universities or academic institutions in Cuba will also be authorized.
  • Travel-related transactions in connection with these activities will also be authorized.

Ordinarily Incident Transactions – Clarifying the scope of authorized transactions:

  • OFAC is clarifying that the Cuba sanctions provisions that are already in place allow most transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to give effect to a licensed transaction.  For example, certain payments made using online payment platforms are permitted for authorized transactions.

Air Ambulances and Emergency Medical Services – Facilitating access to emergency medical services:

  • The provision of air ambulance and other related emergency medical services to travelers in Cuba will be authorized by general license, and a general license will clarify that the provision of nonscheduled emergency medical services to Cuban nationals in the United States is authorized.

Humanitarian Projects –  Facilitating aid to the Cuban people in times of need and preserving Cuban history:

  • The general license authorizing transactions related to specified humanitarian projects will be expanded to include disaster relief and historical preservation.

Supporting Diplomatic Relations – Supporting the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba in accordance with the President’s announcement:

  • OFAC is expanding the general license authorizing transactions with official missions of Cuba to the United States to include international funds transfers.”

For more information on these revisions, please visit the U.S. Department of the Treasury website to read the full press release or their FAQ page about Cuba.

For more resources on the Cuba Sanctions, please visit the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Resource Center.

Rachel is an intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.

 

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About Beyond Borders
In a world of growing global interdependence, laws are transcending borders and increasingly affecting international business. Thus, making significant developments in the international community of utmost importance. Cozen O’Connor’s international business law blog, Beyond Borders: An International Business Blog, focuses on topics, trends and laws impacting the international business community.
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About the Editors
The Blog Co-Editors are James Tarman, Jr., the firm’s international partner, and Marcy Stras, who heads the firm's International Trade and Business Immigration practices.