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Author Topic: U.S. Eases Restrictions on Financing Exports to Cuba  (Read 218 times)
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January 26, 2016, 07:50:58 PM

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration announced on Tuesday that it would lift restrictions on financing American exports to Cuba, removing a major impediment to commerce between the United States and the island nation as President Obama pressed forward with a thaw in relations.

New rules that take effect on Wednesday will allow United States banks to provide direct financing for the export of any product other than agricultural commodities, which are still walled off under the trade embargo. Until now, American products shipped to Cuba had to be paid for in advance in cash or routed through a third country – a costly and burdensome process.

The moves are the latest evidence that Mr. Obama, who is moving to tear down Cold War-era barriers between the United States and Cuba, is determined to do as much as possible to normalize relations before he leaves office. Administration officials said they would help bring about Mr. Obama’s goal of opening Cuba’s economy and government by exposing the country to more American goods, people and ideas.

The changes, said Jacob J. Lew, the Treasury secretary, “build on successive actions over the last year and send a clear message to the world: the United States is committed to empowering and enabling economic advancements for the Cuban people.”

The regulations were jointly released by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which imposes and enforces sanctions, and the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security, which oversees export controls. The regulations also loosen limits on travel between the United States and Cuba and make it simpler to re-establish direct flights under civil aviation agreement reached late last year.

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