Commerce Expands the List of Cuba Exportable Products and Services
The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) has expanded the list of products and services that U.S. companies can export to Cuba.
The new rules will allow U.S. companies to sell products related to disaster preparedness, education, agricultural production, food processing, and public transportation, as well as “artistic endeavors,” such as film production and historic preservation.
Such exports, the agency said, will be granted on a case-by-case basis and must “meet the needs of the Cuban people.”
Existing restrictions on payment and financing terms for authorized exports and re-exports to Cuba, except agricultural products and commodities have also been lifted, the DOC said. Previously such trade had to be paid for by cash-in-advance or financed through third-country banks.
Even so, the new rules are incremental as a more than half-century-old U.S. embargo on trade with Cuba remains in place, with little prospect of total repeal under a Republican-controlled Congress, say analysts.
The decision to expand the list of exportable products and services, they say, appears designed to jumpstart commerce between the two countries and remove some of the Cuban government’s most oft-repeated excuses for not opening its economy completely to trade with the U.S.
The U.S. and Cuba restored diplomatic relations last July after a historic rapprochement the previous December.
Announcement of the new rules comes as President Barack Obama has said he hopes to visit Cuba before he leaves office, but that a trip would depend on the progress being made in relations between the two countries.
“Just as the United States is doing its part to remove impediments that have been holding Cubans back, we urge the Cuban government to make it easier for its citizens to start businesses, engage in trade, and access information online,” said National Security Council spokesman Ned Price.