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President Trump Strengthens U.S. Policy Toward Cuba

posted by Jennifer Diaz October 17, 2019 1 Comment

President Trump Strengthens U.S. Policy Toward CubaDid you know that the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced additional changes to U.S. policy toward Cuba implemented on October 9? On September 6th, the Trump Administration announced measures to increase economic pressure on the Cuban military regime. This follows past policy changes President Trump has taken to sanction the Cuban government for its daily human rights abuses against the Cuban people and abroad. Earlier this year, the President restricted non-family travel to Cuba by removing the travel exemption category of “people-to-people” travel to the island. 

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CATCH UP ON DTL’S TOP BLOGS FROM 2018!

posted by Jennifer Diaz January 15, 2019 0 comments

Picture Blogs

 

We want to make sure you stay up to date with the hottest trade topics from 2018. below is a summary of what you missed by category. Enjoy!

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Chinese Telecom Giant, ZTE, Faced with Largest Penalty Ever Levied

posted by Jennifer Diaz June 8, 2018 0 comments

zte_logo_reuters_1486215309260In our previous post, we discussed ZTE’s record penalty for selling technology with US-origin chips to North Korea and Iran, in violation of US trade laws. The company initially received a $1.19 billion in penalties and was ordered to reprimand the executives responsible for the malfeasance’s as a condition to re-enter the United States (US) market after a three-year suspension. Despite telling the US government that the guilty executives had been properly punished, it became clear that they were instead rewarded with bonuses. This violation triggered an automatic ban of ZTE from the US market for seven (7) years. As the 4th largest seller of cell phones to the US, the ban on ZTE serves as a means of protecting American production.

After the announcement, the ensuing backlash from Beijing, as well as trade talks in China, President Trump stated that he and Chinese president Xi Jiping are working together to bring ZTE “back into business”.

Now, the Trump administration threw a metaphorical lifeline to this tech giant, seemingly easing tensions with Beijing. Secretary Ross announced a $1.4 Billion dollar settlement with ZTE. Continue Reading

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ZTE Barred by U.S. Government & ZTE Fights Back!

posted by Jennifer Diaz May 1, 2018 0 comments

dfvzadfBackground

China-based Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd (collectively “ZTE”) entered a guilty plea and agreed to pay a combined penalty up to $1.19 billion to settle criminal and civil allegations that ZTE violated U.S. export control laws and U.S. sanctions by illegally shipping U.S.-origin items to Iran.

The record-breaking settlement agreement was with the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”), and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”). The penalty assessed against ZTE included a $100,871,266 civil monetary penalty imposed by OFAC; a $430,488,798 in combined criminal fines and forfeitures; and a $661,000,000 penalty payable to BIS, of which $300,000,000 were suspended for a seven-year probationary period. Continue Reading

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OFAC Increases Civil Monetary Penalties

posted by Jennifer Diaz April 4, 2018 0 comments

coinsOn March 19, 2018, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) adjusted its maximum civil monetary penalties for inflation (per the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015). The rationale for this increase is to maintain and improve the effectiveness and deterrent effect of civil monetary penalties. Any increase applies to penalties assessed after the effective date regardless of whether the violation occurred prior to such date.

How much did civil monetary penalties increase? Continue Reading

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Trump Administration Tightens Cuba’s Sanctions Program 

posted by Jennifer Diaz November 9, 2017 2 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 6 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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