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Fiddler González & Rodríguez, P.S.C., P.O. Box 363507, San Juan, PR 00936-3507.
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Eduardo Negrón Navas
U.S. TREASURY AND COMMERCE DEPARTMENTS ESTABLISH NEW CUBA TRAVEL AND EXPORT RULES
New rules went into effect on January 16, 2015 further easing travel to Cuba and financial transactions between U.S. persons and Cuban nationals. These new rules,-- which revised both the Cuban Assets Control Regulations and the Export Administration Regulations administered, respectively, by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security--, were widely anticipated after president Obama’s December 17, 2014 announcement of the onset of diplomatic relationships between the United States and Cuba.
On the travel front, the new rules allow persons wishing to travel to Cuba and falling under one of the twelve existing authorized travel categories (e.g., family visits, official business, professional meetings, educational activities, athletic events, exportation, importation, journalism, among others) (do note that tourism is still not an authorized travel category), to do so without obtaining a special travel license. Additionally, persons visiting Cuba will be able to incur in personal consumption expenses while in Cuba without a maximum limit as had previously existed with the former applicability of a variable per diem rate for authorized travelers.
In addition, travelers to Cuba will now be allowed to use U.S. credit and debit cards during their visits, and this should occur as soon as U.S. financial institutions enroll Cuban merchants to process credit and debit card transaction and open correspondent accounts in Cuban banks as the new regulations authorize. Cuba travelers from the U.S. will now be authorized to take up to $10,000 to Cuba for family and other authorized remittances. In addition, returning travelers will be allowed to bring back to the U.S. up to $400 of Cuban goods, including $100 in alcohol and tobacco products.
U.S. insurance companies, on the other hand, will be happy to know that the new regulations will allow them to expand the health, life and travel insurance policies they have been able to offer to persons travelling to Cuba from the U.S. Not only will insurance companies in the U.S. be able to continue offering these policies, but now the new regulations will also allow U.S. insurers to offer these insurance policies to travelers residing in other countries and travelling to Cuba.
The new Treasury and Commerce regulations implement numerous other significant changes affecting existing limitations in the telecommunications, financial services, travel, commercial goods import and export areas. Moreover, a number of additional regulatory changes are expected in the near future on the part of the federal government.
Fiddler González & Rodríguez maintains a multi-disciplinary law practice group that is familiar with U.S – Cuba commercial relationships and intends to continue assisting and keeping its clients and friends abreast of the ongoing developments and commercial opportunities in Cuba.
The Corporate Group at Fiddler, Gonzalez & Rodriguez, PSC, attorneys and counselors at law, will keep you posted of new developments.
©2016 Fiddler, González & Rodríguez, P.S.C. This Watch has been prepared by Fiddler, González & Rodríguez, P.S.C. for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information does not create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this without seeking advice from professional advisers. Fiddler, González & Rodríguez, P.S.C. and its members assume no responsibility to inform you of additional changes in law or any other legal issues related to the matters advised in this publication.