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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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AILA CLE Luncheon: Ports of Entry – Searches, Seizures and More!

posted by Jennifer Diaz November 7, 2017 0 comments

fghdghDo you know rights (and your clients’ rights) when encountering law enforcement at airports and other ports of entry? Join us at The Rusty Pelican on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, at 11:45AM for an interactive discussion on various issues being encountered by travelers at ports of entry. Our panel of experts will discuss:
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President Trump Outlines New U.S. Policy on Cuba

posted by Jennifer Diaz June 16, 2017 0 comments

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We’ve been patiently waiting for today’s announcement since President Trump took office on Friday, January 20, 2017. Some have speculated on whether President Trump’s stance on Cuba would further diplomatic relations following the steps of former President Barack Obama, while the majority have opined that Trump’s next steps could reverse some of the changes made by the former President. The speculation can now be put to the side as today President Trump delivered a speech in Miami (at the Manuel Artime Theater), a little over 90 miles away from the island of Cuba, outlining his new policy with the communist island. The announced changes do not take effect until the new OFAC regulations are issued. The forthcoming regulations will be prospective and will not affect existing contracts and licenses.  

Here is a summary of the MAIN changes, and background of why the President has signed an executive order making these changes in support of the Cuban people:

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HELP! CBP Seized My Tobacco Products as Drug Paraphernalia, What Now?

posted by Jennifer Diaz May 30, 2017 0 comments

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Our office has increasingly received requests for guidance on importation of marijuana paraphernalia products to the U.S. where twenty-six (26) states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes and/or personal consumption such as California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada. The purpose of this article is to dispel the confusion as to why paraphernalia products (grinders, storage containers, rolling paper, pipes, vape pens, etc.) are continuously being seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), even when such products may be used by tobacco smokers. It is important to address the realities between federal and state laws regulating drug paraphernalia products so importers can avoid CBP’s enforcement of U.S. Laws.

Why Does CBP Stop Drug Paraphernalia?

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Best PracticesCBPCustoms BrokerDepartment of Homeland SecurityEventsImportInternational TravelU.S.Customs

CBP’s 2017 West Coast Trade Symposium…Don’t Miss It!

posted by Jennifer Diaz February 20, 2017 4 Comments

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UPDATE – CBP JUST ANNOUNCED TODAY that registration will OFFICIALLY open on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 12:00 pm Eastern. Keep your eyes peeled for more information from CBP!

We always strive to keep you informed of the latest and greatest trade events. In this vain, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will be hosting the 2017 West Coast Trade Symposium from May 24-25 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

More information about the event, including where to register, will be provided at a later date (and will be posted here). You can be sure we’ll keep you in the loop as we hear more.

If you need reasons to attend (or to get your employer to foot the bill), check out these top 5 reasons!

Best PracticesCBPCustoms BrokerDepartment of Homeland SecurityEventsImportInternational TravelU.S.Customs

CBP EAST COAST Trade Symposium (#ECTS2016) Dec 1-2, 2016!

posted by Jennifer Diaz November 11, 2016 2 Comments

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The CBP East Coast Trade Symposium theme is “Trade’s Impact on American Health, Safety and Economic Prosperity” and will take place from December 1-2, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia.

Our top 5 reasons to attend including an invite to a premier networking event are below!

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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
Best PracticesCubaDepartment of Homeland SecurityImportInternational TravelOFACSeizuresU.S.Customs

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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