US announces further amendments to Cuba sanctions

Updated: 2016-01-27 09:49


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WASHINGTON - The United States on Tuesday announced new amendments to its sanctions on Cuba, easing restrictions on export financing and facilitating authorized travel.

The amendments, which will take effect on Wednesday, "will remove existing restrictions on payment and financing terms for authorized exports and reexports to Cuba of items other than agricultural items or commodities," the US Treasury and Commerce Departments said in a statement.

The amendments, which came about six months after Washington and Havana resumed diplomatic ties, will further facilitate travel to Cuba for authorized purposes by allowing blocked space, code-sharing, and leasing arrangements with Cuban airlines, it said.

The changes will also authorize additional transactions related to professional meetings, disaster preparedness and response projects, and information and informational materials.

The amendments "send a clear message to the world: the United States is committed to empowering and enabling economic advancements for the Cuban people," Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said.

"We have been working to enable the free flow of information between Cubans and Americans and will continue to take the steps necessary to help the Cuban people achieve the political and economic freedom that they deserve," Lew added.

The United States and Cuba resumed diplomatic relations in July 2015, ending more than five decades of enmity. U.S. President Barack Obama called the move "a historic step in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people."

In mid-September 2015, the US announced amendments to sanctions on Cuba, easing travel and business restrictions on the island country.