New rules to relief Cuba embargo laid out by White House

By MoneyTimes

Sep 21, 2015 03:32 AM EDT

New regulations have been issued by the U.S. to alleviate restrictions on American companies venturing business in Cuba and opening up travel in the latest action to soften the US trade embargo on the Communist country.

The rules that would take effect on Monday, Sept. 21,ABC News reported.

The rules aim at travel, telecommunications, Internet-based services, business operations and banking, and enable US companies to build a presence in Cuba.  The rule also removes the limits on the amount of money people can send back to the Caribbean nation.

"By further easing these sanctions, the United States is helping to support the Cuban people in their effort to achieve the political and economic freedom necessary to build a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba," US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in a statement.

The regulations will be easier for airlines and cruise ships to import parts as well as technology for Cuba's safety improvement; loosen restrictions on software exports; and allow companies that are authorized to establish subsidiaries with Cuba, perhaps through joint ventures with Cuban firms like Etesca which is the state communications monopoly, as reported by Reuters.

"These are the most comprehensive expansion in U.S. trade and investment regulations with Cuba in decades," said John Kavulich, head of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, who is familiar with the new rules.

The regulations stretch on others that Obama announced in January to relief the 53-year-old embargo of the Communist-ruled land.  The rules were a primary gesture after Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced on Dec. 17 that the former Cold War enemies for the first time in more than half a century will be put to an end and restore diplomatic ties.

Their announcement comes just as Pope Francis, who helped a lot in the diplomatic opening late last year, prepares to visit Cuba this weekend before visiting the US next week.  It will be a three-night visit to Cuba starting Saturday.

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