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US Announces Liberalization of Cuba Sanctions Policy

On December 17, 2014, President Obama announced the relaxation of certain aspects of the comprehensive trade embargo against Cuba that the United States has maintained since the early 1960s. As set forth by the White House, the announced changes include a review of Cuba's status as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, facilitation of certain remittances to Cuba, authorization for US banks to open correspondent accounts at Cuban financial institutions, authorization for the use of US credit/debit cards in Cuba by travelers, authorization of certain exports of goods and services to Cuba, authorization of limited imports from Cuba by licensed US travelers to Cuba, and facilitation of certain travel to Cuba.

These changes will not take effect until they are implemented officially by the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the US Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). Official implementation is expected to occur in the coming weeks. Until the changes become official, companies and individuals are expected to continue to comply with the existing economic and trade sanctions against Cuba.

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