American Coatings Association

Treasury and Commerce Department Ease Trade Barriers with Cuba


The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) have amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR), respectively. OFAC and BIS made these amendments in support of the process of normalizing bilateral relations with Cuba.

The changes, which implement the new policy direction toward Cuba that President Obama announced in December 2014, took effect Oct. 17 and are intended to further engage and empower the Cuban people and promote political, social, and economic reform in Cuba by easing sanctions related to, among others, scientific collaboration, humanitarian activities, trade and commerce, and travel.

The amendments affecting trade and commerce seek to bolster trade and commercial opportunities and the growth of Cuba’s private sector.

  • Export-related transactions
    OFAC is amending its general license authorizing certain transactions incident to exports and re-exports authorized by the BIS to eliminate references to “100% U.S.-origin items.” This is intended to minimize and clarify the circumstances in which an export or re-export authorized by BIS requires additional licensing by OFAC.
  • Consumer goods for personal use
    BIS will generally authorize exports of certain consumer goods that are sold online or through other means directly to eligible individuals in Cuba for their personal use.
  • Imports of previously exported items
    OFAC is adding an authorization that will allow the importation into the United States or a third country of items that were previously exported or re-exported to Cuba pursuant to a BIS or OFAC authorization. This authorization will also permit persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to service and repair such items. Exporting or re-exporting replacement items or items that have been repaired or serviced must be separately authorized by OFAC and/or BIS as appropriate.
  • Contingent contracts
    OFAC is adding an expanded general license that will authorize persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to enter into certain contingent contracts for transactions currently prohibited by the embargo, provided that contract performance is made expressly contingent on prior authorization by OFAC and any other relevant 4 Federal agency, or on authorization no longer being required. Transactions ordinarily incident to negotiating and entering into such contracts will also be authorized.
  • Financing
    OFAC is making a technical correction to clarify that agricultural items, such as pesticides and tractors, authorized by BIS for export or re-export to Cuba are not subject to restrictions on payment terms. As required by the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act, authorized exports and re-exports to Cuba of agricultural commodities, such as poultry and corn, remain subject to the limited payment and financing terms of cash in advance or third country financing.
  • Certain vessel transactions
    OFAC is issuing a general license that will waive the restriction prohibiting foreign vessels from entering a U.S. port for purposes of loading or unloading freight for 180 days after calling on a Cuban port for trade purposes if the items the vessel carried to Cuba would, if subject to the EAR, be designated as EAR99 or controlled on the Commerce Control List for anti-terrorism reasons only.
  • Transit of cargo
    BIS will generally authorize air cargo to transit Cuba, complementing an existing general authorization for cargo transiting Cuba aboard vessels.

A fact sheet on the amendments is available here.

Contact ACA’s Allen Irish for more information.