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Trump Administration Tightens Cuba’s Sanctions Program 

posted by Jennifer Diaz November 9, 2017 0 comments

Since June 2017, we have been anxiously awaiting changes to the Cuba sanctions program since President Trump signed an executive order and emphatically stated that his administration would tighten loose regulations established under the Obama Administration.cuba relations

On November 8, 2017, the U.S. Department of the Treasury stated,

  • “We have strengthened our Cuba policies to channel economic activity away from the Cuban military and to encourage the government to move toward greater political and economic freedom for the Cuban people”

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Travel to the U.S. with an Unlimited Number of Cuban Cigars and Rum – Courtesy of New Revised OFAC and BIS Regulations

posted by Jennifer Diaz October 17, 2016 1 Comment

On October 14, 2016, President Obama issued a Presidential Policy Directive on United States-Cuba Normalization to further ease travel and trade restrictions with Cuba. As a result, Monday, October 17, 2016, amendments to both OFAC and BIS regulations will take effect.

Below are the top changes from both OFAC and BIS:

OFAC is making additional amendments to the Regulations with respect to health, trade and commerce, civil aviation safety, travel and related transactions, humanitarian-related activities, and certain other activities. Below is a recap:

  • Health
    • Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are now permitted to engage in commercial and non-commercial joint medical research projects with Cuban nationals. (Section 515.547).
  • Travel and Related Transactions
    • Importation of Cuban merchandise: Not too long ago we alerted our readers that CBP was targeting Cuban Cigars at American Ports. We haveImage result for travel with cigars and rumBIG news for cigar and rum lovers… As of Monday, October 17, 2016, persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are now able to return home from Cuba (or any other country where Cuban rum and cigars can legally be purchased) with an unlimited amount of rum and cigars. However, the number of cigars and amount rum must be for personal use and such merchandise must be imported as accompanied baggage and are subject to the normal limits on duty and tax exemptions. This is a huge step forward from OFAC’s initial limit of $400 or less (with no more than $100 of such merchandise consisting of alcohol or tobacco products). (Section 515.560(c)(3)). Continue Reading
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Cuban Cigars Seized by CBP

posted by Jennifer Diaz September 22, 2016 0 comments

Mark Twain once said, “I never smoke to excess – that is, I smoke in moderation, only one cigar at a time.”cuban-cigars-seize-2

With the loosening of restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba, including the authorization to import Cuban Cigars (for personal use only, under a certain value), persons under “U.S. jurisdiction” are getting caught right and left trying to take advantage and import more than their share of Cuban cigars to the US. In May of this year, Maxim magazine declared Cuban Cigars are still the worlds best. However, as relations thaw, will the Cuban cigar be able to take back the market share it lost in the past half century when countries like Dominican Republic and Nicaragua have served the US? That is a question recently posed by Will Yakwowicz in an article for Inc. earlier this year.

Although you are allowed to bring Cuban cigars back to the U.S. (if you are on an “authorized trip” to Cuba) there is a limit and the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can, and will, seize any amount over the allowed limit.

What is the scope and limit on how many cigars I can bring in?

Will Customs and Border Protection seize as little as 1 cigar?

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First Commercial flight to Cuba Scheduled to Depart August 31, 2016!

posted by Jennifer Diaz August 12, 2016 0 comments

Cuba_RouteMapCo-Authored by Jennifer Diaz and Kristina Hernandez-Tilson, an attorney in Miami, Florida, practices in state and federal court, litigating matters of civil and administrative law. 

The novelist Graham Greene once said that Havana was a city to visit, not a city to live in – well, now visiting just became far simpler.

On Thursday, July 6, 2016, eight airlines were granted a tentative approval from the U.S. government for flights between certain U.S. cities and Cuba’s capital, Havana.

The U.S. cities are Continue Reading

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

posted by Jennifer Diaz March 16, 2016 3 Comments

Plane, United States and Cuba flags

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. Also, check out our new blog design and let me know what you think!

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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Up to 110 Daily Flights from the U.S. to Cuba

posted by Jennifer Diaz February 23, 2016 8 Comments

Welcome to Cuba

If you are in aviation – commercial or private – there are potential new business opportunities in Cuba. The American government and our new friendly neighbor to the south, the Republic of Cuba last sat at the negotiation table to discuss Air Transportation agreements in 1957, as parties to the Convention on International Civil Aviation. Nearly sixty years later, on February 16, 2016, the United States government and Cuba entered into an aviation agreement, the U.S.-Cuba Memorandum of Understanding of February 16, 2016, and intend to apply the basis of comity and reciprocity of the agreement.

Immediately after, Anthony Foxx, U.S. Transportation Secretary, Charles Rivkin, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, Adel Yzquierdo Rodriguez, Cuban Minister of Transportation and Colonel Alfredo Cordero Puig, President of the Cuban Civil Aviation Institute (IACC), Ministry of Transportation  signed the agreement, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) encouraged U.S. air carriers to apply for licensing and authorization to offer flights to Cuba.

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

posted by Jennifer Diaz February 23, 2016 0 comments

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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Update on U.S. Laws Regarding Commerce with Cuba

posted by Jennifer Diaz November 24, 2015 0 comments
Join NEI for an insightful conversation about rapidly evolving business opportunities in Cuba, brought to you by yours truly. The Webinar will highlight particular areas of interest, including: a current overview of the current rules and regulations governing transactions with Cuba, learning what travel to Cuba is authorized, what the latest regulations by BIS and OFAC cover, and future opportunities for growth in telecommunication, construction, and finance.
The audience will be provided with the latest exceptions as they relate to business transactions with Cuba. U.S. companies with a desire to learn the new business opportunities as they relate to Cuba should attend. Continue Reading
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TOP 11 NEW Business Opportunities with Cuba as a Result of NEW OFAC and BIS Laws

posted by Jennifer Diaz September 28, 2015 0 comments
In December, 2014, we updated you on the president’s historic announcement in regards to doing business in Cuba, and in January we updated you on both the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) amendments to the Cuban Assets Controls Regulations (“CACR”) and the amendments to the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) administered by the United States
Department of Commerce. As of September 21, 2015, both OFAC and the BIS have amended their regulations again, and below details the top 11 changes as a result of the new laws.
 
We’ll be discussing these new changes on October 8th, at our Export Compliance Seminar at the Miami Free Zone. Blog subscribers get to take advantage of the discount code! Email me at jdiaz@bplegal.com for it. You can RSVP here

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Embassies and Island Wide Wi-Fi by July in Cuba

posted by Jennifer Diaz July 1, 2015 0 comments

cuba phonePresident Barack Obama announced Wednesday that the U.S. and Cuba will now reestablish diplomatic ties and reopen embassies in their respective capitals. The announcement comes just one month after the Secretary of State removed Cuba from the State Sponsor of Terrorism list. Although it would take an act of Congress to lift the trade embargo, reopening embassies is another brick in the foundation of normalizing trade relations. With the new embassies opening in July, there will be greater contact between the US and the Cuban people which will ultimately lead to a change in the US’s attitude towards the trade embargo.

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