The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control on Sept. 6 announced amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations to further implement President Donald Trump’s June 2017 National Security Presidential Memorandum, “Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba.”
Among key changes, OFAC amended certain authorizations related to the provision of remittances to Cuba and eliminated the authorization for specific financial transactions known as “U-turn” transactions. “We are taking additional steps to financially isolate the Cuban regime,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “The United States holds the Cuban regime accountable for its oppression of the Cuban people and support of other dictatorships throughout the region, such as the illegitimate Maduro regime.”
“Through these regulatory amendments, Treasury is denying Cuba access to hard currency, and we are curbing the Cuban government’s bad behavior while continuing to support the long-suffering people of Cuba,” Mnuchin added.
Under one major change, OFAC said it is removing the authorization for banking institutions subject to U.S. jurisdiction to process certain funds transfers originating and terminating outside the United States (the so-called “U-turn” transactions). Banking institutions subject to U.S. jurisdiction will be authorized to reject such transactions but may no longer process the transactions.
Another major change addresses remittances, specifically the following:
- Family remittances: OFAC is placing a cap of $1,000 per quarter that one remitter can send per quarter to one Cuban national and is prohibiting remittances to close family members of prohibited Cuban officials and members of the Cuban Communist Party.
- Donative remittances: OFAC is eliminating the authorization for donative remittances.
- Remittances to certain individuals and independent non-governmental organizations in Cuba: OFAC is adding a provision authorizing such remittances to support the operation of economic activity in the non-state sector by self-employed individuals, in light of the NSPM’s policy to encourage the growth of the Cuban private sector independent of government control.
These actions mark an ongoing commitment to implement the President’s Cuba policy. On June 5, 2019, OFAC further restricted non-family travel to Cuba by removing an authorization for group people-to-people educational travel, pursuant to an April 17, 2019, foreign policy announcement.
The latest Treasury changes will take effect on Oct. 9, which is 30 days from the date the regulations will be published in the Federal Register. OFAC has also published an updated list of FAQs related to the CACR, as well as guidance on recent changes to the sanctions.