On December, 17, 2014, Obama gave a speech on his intentions to normalized the diplomatic relations between Cuba and the USA, by supporting the Cuban people, and making changes to facilitate authorized travel for Americans to Cuba; as well as certain commerce and financial activities and the flow of communications to and from the island as well.
The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations toward Cuba. And yes indeed it’s a step forward for the Americans and the Cuban people, but the restrictions (Embargo) remain. So, what has really been changed?
OFAC has issued *general licenses within the 12 categories of authorized travel for many travel-related to or from Cuba that previously required a **specific license (i.e., an application and a case-by-case determination). Which means anyone who meets the requirements doesn’t need to apply for a license to travel to Cuba.
Family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and certain authorized export transactions.
Importation of goods
You can import goods from Cuba into the US which it’s total value doesn’t exceed $400. Take a note, you can’t import more than $100 of alcohol or tobacco. (This policy applies also to foreign persons entering the United States from travel that included Cuba). Be aware that you can’t buy alcohol or cigars of Cuban origin to import into US through a third country or via Internet.
The new rule allows US travellers to use their credit or debit cards issued by an American financial institution.
Diem rate no longer applies, and there is not limit dollars on expenses.
Remittances have been raised from $500 per quarter to $2,000 per quarter.
Visitors may carry up to $10,000 in cash to Cuba for family remittances per authorized trip.
Certain remittances to Cuban nationals for humanitarian projects, support for the Cuban people, or development of private business are now generally authorized.
Commercial telecommunications services in Cuba or linking third countries and Cuba will be authorized, including telecommunications-related, transactions, payment related to the provision of telecommunications involving Cuba, or provided to Cuban individuals. Pursuant to this provision, U.S. citizens may, for example, purchase calling cards for people to use in Cuba and/or may pay the bills of such people directly to a telecommunications operator located in Cuba, such as ETECSA
Travel and carriers services
Travellers will be able to purchase their ticket directly from the airline offering the service. Airlines and travelers are responsible for maintaining records of their Cuba-related transactions for at least five years.
Support for the Cuban People
Humanitarian projects include medical and health-related projects; construction projects intended to benefit legitimately independent civil society groups; environmental projects; projects involving formal or non-formal educational training, within Cuba or off-island, on the following topics: Entrepreneurship and business, civil education, journalism, advocacy and organizing, adult literacy, or vocational skills; community-based grass-roots projects; projects suitable to the development of small-scale private enterprise; projects that are related to agricultural and rural development that promote independent activity; micro-financing projects, except for loans, extensions of credit, or other financing prohibited and projects to meet basic human needs.
The regulatory interpretation of “cash in advance”has been changed from “cash before shipment” to “cash before transfer of title and control” to allow expanded financing options for authorized exports to Cuba
A license is an authorization from OFAC to engage in a transaction that otherwise would be prohibited. There are two types of licenses: general licenses and specific licenses. *A general license authorizes a particular type of transaction for a class of persons without the need to apply for a license.**A specific license is a written document issued by OFAC to a particular person or entity, authorizing a particular transaction in response to a written license application.
Persons engaging in transactions pursuant to general or specific licenses must make sure that all conditions of the licenses are strictly observed
Original Source: http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USTREAS/bulletins/e9d4bd/
A friend once told me: … All the goods I have in stock are needed in Cuba…to which I replied: From your point of view; I agree, in fact it’s not a bad assessment of the whole panorama. I’m afraid to disappoint you; but Cuba is not a consumer society yet. Therefore we have to take into account the difference between lacking and needing, which differ from one another.
There are specific regulations for foreign investment, regardless of contribution to the economy of the country; the investment also has to produce a social welfare to which Cuba is no exception. Even though the foreign investment law states that one may invest in all sectors -with the exception of education, health and military forces-; is important to acknowledge where the real possibilities of investment are.
Insight into where to invest:
Food and Agriculture
Rice is part of the daily diet of Cubans, but its production is limited due to the shortage of water and the lack of fertilizers and modern agricultural technology
The Cuban’s domestic market lacks commodities, as an example, the country currently imports 80% of food supplies to its population. Business oportunities …
Last November, Havana held two of its major events -FIHAV/Business fair and The International Ballet Festival of Havana, which attracted many visitors. I tried to book a hotel on the second week of October, and all the hotels in Havana were already booked.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, Cuba received a record-breaking 3 million foreign tourists in 2014, which represents a 5.3% growth from the previous year. Business oportunities … …
Infrastructure (such as transportation, railways, highways, roads and communication)
Who does not know of the transportation issues in Cuba? When many of us call it the “travelling museum or museum on wheels”
Anyone who has been throughout the island knows also of the conditions of the highways. Business oportunities …
Currently over 90% of the energy in Cuba is generated from oil, for which Cuba seeks to reduce its consumption levels to 24% through an investment plan for renewable energy Business oportunities …
Cuba is well known for its health system and its commitment in this field. According to officials sources 12% of the Cubans export comes from the bio-pharma industry. The Cuban biotechnological and pharmaceutical industry offers a major opportunity to foreign investment given its scientific research, production and commercialization of its products. Business oportunities …
Some investors may testify about trading & Investment in Cuba
Sherritt international: Since 1994 it operates Cuba’s large nickel mining, which is the second largest nickel reserves in the world after Russia)
Damen Group: Shipbuilding & Engineering; established in Cuba since January 1995
Meliá Hotels International, S.A: Established in Cuba since 1990 is one of the largest hotel companies in the world and the largest hotel chain in Spain in both resort and city hotels. The company currently operates more than 350 hotels in 35 countries and 4 continents under its brands: Meliá, Gran Meliá, ME by Meliá, Paradisus, Innside by Meliá, TRYP by Wyndham, Sol Hotels and Club Meliá. (http://www.meliahotelsinternational.com/en)
Nirint Shipping: Established in Cuba since 1992.
Indiana Finance BV (formerly Fondel Finance BV): One of the world’s leading metal trading companies; with more than four decades trading -nickel- with Cuba. This company conducts 70 percent of trade between the Netherlands and Cuba.