The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Department of Commerce today published amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations to implement policy changes announced by the President last month.
The newly revised regulations, in part, allow U.S. financial institutions to open correspondent accounts at Cuban financial institutions to facilitate the processing of authorized transactions, authorize certain transactions with Cuban nationals located outside of Cuba, and allow a number of other activities related to telecommunications, financial services, trade, and shipping.
Major elements of the changes in the revised regulations include:
A new OFAC general license will facilitate the establishment of commercial telecommunications facilities linking third countries and Cuba.
The commercial export of certain items that will improve communications between the United States and Cuba will be authorized under a new Commerce license exception, Support for the Cuban People (SCP), without requiring a license. This will include the commercial sale of certain consumer communications devices, related software, applications, hardware, and services, and items for the establishment and update of communications-related systems. Additional services including internet-based communications will also be authorized by OFAC general license.
Depository institutions will be permitted to open and maintain correspondent accounts at a financial institution that is a national of Cuba to facilitate the processing of authorized transactions. U.S. financial institutions will be authorized to enroll merchants and process credit and debit card transactions for travel-related and other transactions consistent with section 515.560 of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations.
Exports and re-exports to provide support for the Cuban people in three areas—improving living conditions and supporting independent economic activity, strengthening civil society, and improving communications—will be eligible under Commerce’s SCP license exception.
SCP will authorize building materials, equipment, and tools for use by the private sector to construct or renovate privately-owned buildings, including privately-owned residences, businesses, places of worship, and building for private sector social or recreational use; tools and equipment for private agricultural activity; and tools, equipment, supplies, and instruments for use by private sector entrepreneurs.
SCP will authorize export and re-export of donated items and temporary export and re-export by travelers to Cuba of items for use in scientific, archaeological, cultural, ecological, educational, historic preservation, or sporting activities. SCP will also authorize exports and re-exports to human rights organizations, individuals, or non-governmental organizations that promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society.