U.S. Works to Open Relations with Cuba
January 16, 2015
On January 15, 2015, the Department of Commerce and the Department of Treasury announced the implementation of new regulations regarding Cuba, which follow President Obama’s December 2014 statements about opening up travel and trade relations with Cuba. According to the U.S. Department of Treasury, twelve categories of individuals will be able to travel to Cuba for government relations, family visits, academic and journalistic work, and humanitarian aid. Additionally, financial institutions will be able to “open and maintain correspondent accounts at financial a financial institution that is a national of Cuba to facilitate the processing of authorized transactions.” The U.S. will allow various products to be exported to Cuba including “communications devices” and “building materials.” Secretary Lew from the Department of Treasury commented that the new rules “will have a direct impact in further engaging and empowering the Cuban people, promoting positive change for Cuba’s citizens. The amended regulations also will facilitate authorized business for U.S. exporters and enhance communications and commerce between Cuba and the United States.”
Democrats have also proposed a bill called the “Free Trade with Cuba Act, which would eliminate the embargo with Cuba and open up Cuban markets to American businesses. Representative Charlie Rangel, one of seventeen Democrats who introduced the bill, stated, “Allowing trade with Cuba will not only generate revenue for our economy but will also enable us to exchange American culture and ideals that can help foster democratic principles in Cuba.”
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