Saturday, September 19, 2015

US moves to further ease travel, business restrictions on Cuba

The United States on Friday announced new amendments to sanctions on Cuba, further easing travel and business restrictions on the island country.

The measures, which will take effect on Monday, target travel, telecommunications, Internet-based services, commercial and financial transactions, further delivering on "the new direction toward U.S. relations with Cuba," said a statement issued by the Treasury Department.

"Today's announcement underscores the Administration's commitment to promote constructive change for the Cuban people," Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said.

"A stronger, more open U.S.-Cuba relationship has the potential to create economic opportunities for both Americans and Cubans alike," Lew added.

The new move, which came two months after Washington and Havana resumed diplomatic ties, will further facilitate travel to Cuba for authorized purposes, expand general licenses for the telecommunications and internet-based services, and allow certain persons to establish a physical presence, such as an office, in Cuba to facilitate authorized transactions.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said the new regulations are designed to support the emerging Cuban private sector and bring the U.S. "one step closer to achieving President Obama's historic policy goals."

"In addition to expanding our commercial engagement with the Cuban people, these additional adjustments have the potential to stimulate long overdue economic reform across the country," Pritzker said.

U.S. and Cuba reestablished diplomatic relations in July, ending more than five decades of enmity. Obama called the move "a historic step in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people."

Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro announced in December the decision to restore diplomatic relations between the former Cold War rivals. 

 Xinhua -


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