Cuba Policy Shift: Administration Eases Restrictions on Small Businesses

On May 28, 2024, the Biden administration announced new measures easing restrictions on independent small businesses in Cuba. The announcement follows a recent decision by the State Department to remove Cuba from the list of countries deemed uncooperative on counterterrorism. 

The Administration criticized the Cuban government in the announcement, saying: “We know the Cuban economy is in dire straits amid recurring shortages of fuel, electricity, increasingly even food. It’s clear the communist experiment of Cuba has failed, the government is no longer able to provide for its citizens’ most basic needs.” 

The new measures implemented by the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) include four main parts:

1. Authorized Internet-Based Services and Software.

Cuban small businesses will now be able to access additional internet-based services such as video conferencing, social media, maps, e-learning, automated translation, and other online services. 

U.S.-based entities will be allowed to provide cloud-based services to these small businesses. OFAC is also authorizing the export or reexport of Cuban-origin software and mobile applications from the United States to third countries.

2. Re-defining “Self-Employment.”

OFAC is scrapping the term “self-employed individual” and replacing it with a new term: “independent private sector entrepreneur.” The new term will still cover traditional self-employed individuals such as business owners, but it will also cover private cooperatives or small businesses that are wholly owned by such individuals. 

By |2024-05-31T13:02:03-04:00May 28, 2024|Cuba, U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)|Comments Off on Cuba Policy Shift: Administration Eases Restrictions on Small Businesses

Doing Business With Cuba: What You Need to Know

Cuba is home to 11 million consumers and a growing private sector. Its proximity to the United States (the Port of Havana is only 198 nautical miles from the Port of Miami) makes the country a natural trade partner. While changes in policy over the last several years have unlocked new business opportunities in Cuba, there are still regulatory barriers that individuals and companies should be aware of.

U.S. Embargo

The United States imposed a comprehensive economic embargo on Cuba in the 1960’s which restricts most trade between the two countries. It also includes restrictions on travel and investment.

Although the U.S. faced pressure to end the embargo, the state of affairs remained largely unchanged until 2014.

In December 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 and the 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. The license exception was most significant for travel, telecom, building materials and agricultural equipment, financial services, and personal importations.

OFAC and BIS issued additional new rules on January 16, 2015, September 21, 2015, January 27, 2016, March 15, 2016, October 14, 2016, November 9, […]

By |2023-07-18T08:29:16-04:00July 18, 2023|Countries, Cuba|Comments Off on Doing Business With Cuba: What You Need to Know

Significant Updates to BIS Enforcement Policies in 2022

Diaz Trade Law’s President, Jennifer Diaz, Associate Attorney Sharath Patil, are enthusiastic to announce Bloomberg Law published another one of our articles, “Significant Updates to BIS Enforcement Policies in 2022“! Below is the article reproduced with permission for your reading pleasure. You can read the article here (where you’ll have the ability to access all of the great hyperlinks). Please note you cannot click on the hyperlinks below.

We’d love to hear your feedback!

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What are Routed Export Transactions?

The U.S. Census Bureau requires Routed Export Transactions to be accurately reported in the Electronic Export Information (“EEI”) that is filed for certain export shipments. This article provides an overview of the U.S. Census Bureau’s export filing requirements, an explanation of what a Routed Export Transaction is, an outline of the Census Bureau’s policies pertaining to Routed Export Transactions, specifically, and offers insight into what you should do to be proactive about your export compliance.

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Insight on Last 6 Months of Biden/Congress on Trade

A lot has happened in the first 6 months of the Biden administration. Notable developments include (at least temporary) resolutions in the large civil aircraft and digital service tax disputes, consensus around a global minimum corporate tax of 15%, lawsuits pertaining to Section 232, increased export controls enforcement, shifting U.S. policy stances on Cuba, and more. However, the most important developments pertain to the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. The U.S. and China are engaged in ongoing negotiations while tensions have risen, a lawsuit challenging Trump’s imposition of 301 tariffs are underway, and a massive U.S. competitiveness bill is being considered in Congress that could bring back broad China tariff exclusions. Join us for a jam-packed hour where we discuss everything that has happened in the world of U.S. trade policy over the past 6 months, and provide insight into how Biden’s trade policies affect industry.

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Do’s and Don’ts of Filing a Commodity Jurisdiction Request

An Introduction to Export Controls

Over 95% of the world’s consumers are outside of the United States. Opportunities abound for U.S. companies that export. However, exporting is a privilege and not a right. U.S. exporters have an important responsibility to adhere to U.S. export control laws, including the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”), and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”). Violations of export control laws carry hefty civil and criminal penalties. Exporters can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties, lose export privileges, and even be imprisoned for violations of U.S. export control laws.

[…]

By |2021-10-07T14:45:48-04:00June 22, 2021|China, Cuba, EAR, EEI, Export, International Trade, IRAN, ITAR, U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), venezuela|Comments Off on Do’s and Don’ts of Filing a Commodity Jurisdiction Request

OFAC Sanctions & Licensing

Background on U.S. Sanctions (as of May, 2021)

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) administers a number of different sanctions programs. The purpose of U.S. sanctions programs is to advance U.S. foreign policy objectives and protect national security. Currently, OFAC administers 35 sanctions programs. These sanctions programs vary widely – some are comprehensive while others are highly selective.

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Building a Strong Export Compliance Plan

Exporting is a Privilege, Not a Right

Over 95% of the world’s consumers are outside of the United States. Opportunities abound for U.S. companies that export. However, exporting is a privilege and not a right. U.S. exporters have an important responsibility to adhere to U.S. export control laws, including the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”), the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) sanctions laws, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). Violations of export control laws carry hefty civil and criminal penalties. Exporters can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties, lose export privileges, and even be imprisoned for violations of U.S. export control laws.

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Commerce Department Issues Rule Securing Digital Supply Chains Against Foreign Adversaries

Background on Securing Information Technology & Communications Supply Chains

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By |2021-10-12T14:56:04-04:00February 16, 2021|China, China Trade War, Cuba, Export, FCPA, International Trade, IRAN, Supply Chain, U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), venezuela|Comments Off on Commerce Department Issues Rule Securing Digital Supply Chains Against Foreign Adversaries

Trump Administration Designates Cuba State Sponsor of Terrorism

Cuba Designated a State Sponsor of Terror

The U.S. State Department designated Cuba a State Sponsor of Terrorism (“SST”) on January 11, 2021. Countries are designated on the SST list when they are determined by the U.S. Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.

The four main categories of sanctions resulting from designation can include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions. Here, the January 11 re-designation of Cuba on the SST subjects Cuba to:

  • Sanctions that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with Cuba
  • Restricts U.S. foreign assistance to Cuba
  • Bans defense exports and sales to Cuba
  • Imposes certain controls on exports of dual use items.

[…]

By |2021-10-12T15:06:51-04:00January 12, 2021|Cuba, EAR, Export, FCPA, Freight Forwarding, U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), U.S. Department of State (DOS), U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)|Comments Off on Trump Administration Designates Cuba State Sponsor of Terrorism
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