Cuba Sanctions Changes - Trump Administration Restricts Travel and Transactions Involving Cuban Government, Modestly Expands Goods Exportable to Cuban Private Sector

November 15, 2017 Advisory

On November 9, 2017, the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Treasury and State took steps to implement President Trump's June 2017 National Security Presidential Memorandum Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba ("Presidential Memo") (82 Fed. Reg. 48875), which asserted goals including "[e]nd[ing] economic practices that disproportionately benefit the Cuban government or its military, intelligence, or security agencies," and "[e]nsur[ing] adherence to the statutory ban on tourism to Cuba."

The changes, implemented through revisions to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations ("CACR") and the Export Administration Regulations ("EAR"), tighten restrictions on educational and people-to-people travel to Cuba, prohibit "direct financial transactions" with several hundred Cuban entities that are broadly enmeshed in the Cuban economy, and reinstate an expansive definition of Prohibited Officials of the Government of Cuba. As a result, persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction – including foreign companies that are owned or controlled by U.S. persons – will need to scrutinize the already very limited range of Cuba transactions permitted under general licenses even more closely to ensure compliance. Foreign companies operating outside the U.S. and not owned or controlled by U.S. persons should also be aware of the changes, which may affect transactions involving U.S.-person employees or the U.S. financial system (which are subject to the CACR and will require general or specific licenses issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control), as well as transactions involving re-exports of U.S.-origin items under EAR license exceptions or export licenses issued by the Bureau of Industry and Security ("BIS").

In parallel with the additional restrictions described above, the Trump Administration implemented a modest expansion to the range of U.S. origin goods that may be exported to Cuba for use by the private sector under EAR License Exception Support for the Cuban People ("SCP"). Further details on each of the changes follow below.

To read the full advisory, please click the PDF link below.