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New rules ease business relations with Cuba

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U.S. President Barack Obama issued a 12-page presidential policy directive on Cuba on Oct. 14 that is designed to solidify the changes his administration has made with the island nation since December 2014.

This was the sixth set of regulatory changes, according to an article in the Miami Herald, and includes business changes as well as one that will please travelers: no more limit on how many bottles of rum or Cuban cigars they can bring back for personal use.

Among the other changes: U.S. companies can negotiate binding contracts in Cuba (though they will not go into effect until the embargo is lifted by Congress); Cubans and Americans can engage in joint medical research; cargo ships no longer have to wait 180 days after visiting a Cuban port to enter the U.S., online sales of consumer goods to Cubans is allowed without requiring U.S. companies to get a license, and Cubans can receive grants and scholarships to study in the United States.

The regulations also allow U.S. nationals such as engineering and architecture firms to provide services to Cuba related to developing, repairing, maintaining and enhancing Cuban infrastructure.

As for Cuban products (such as rum and cigars), there is no longer a monetary limit on how much Americans can bring back in their luggage, as long as they pay normal duties and taxes. There will no longer be monetary limits on such products purchased in third countries that come into the United States as accompanied baggage, according to the Herald.

The new rules took effect Oct. 17 when they were published in the Federal Register. They supersede any previous presidential directives on Cuba and stand as U.S.-Cuba policy until they are is replaced, a senior administration official told the Herald.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump tweeted earlier this week that he would “reverse Obama’s executive orders and concessions towards Cuba until freedoms are restored.”

Click here to read the full Herald story.

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