Cuba

On January 27, 2016, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) will take additional coordinated actions in support of the President’s Cuba policy.  These actions include a rule published by BIS that adds a general policy of approval for certain exports and reexports previously subject to case-by-case review and a policy of case-by-case review for exports and reexports to meet the needs of the Cuban people, including exports and reexports for this purpose made to state-owned enterprises and agencies and organizations of the Cuban government that provide goods and services to the Cuban people.  

These actions further implement the President’s policy to chart a new course in bilateral relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people, announced on December 17, 2014.  The President explained that these steps build upon actions taken since 2009 that have been aimed at supporting the ability of the Cuban people to gain greater control over their own lives and determine their country’s future.  On January 16, 2015, BIS and OFAC published regulations to implement certain elements of this policy, including changes to licensing policy and license exceptions in the EAR that are consistent with U.S. support for the Cuban people (see 80 FR 2286 and 80 FR 2291).  Additionally, on July 22, 2015, BIS published a rule implementing the May 29, 2015, rescission of Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation (see 80 FR 43314).  On September 21, 2015, BIS and OFAC published rules to further implement the President’s Cuba policy, which included additional amendments to license exceptions and licensing policy in the EAR (see 80 FR 56898 and 80 FR 56915).

Although these changes revise the licensing policy for certain types of exports, the United States continues to maintain a comprehensive embargo on trade with Cuba. The export and reexport to Cuba of all items subject to the EAR still requires a BIS license, unless authorized by a license exception specified in § 746.2(a)(1) of the EAR or exempted from license requirements in § 746.2(a)(2) of the EAR.

 

For additional information, please review the rule, the Department of Commerce and Department of the Treasury’s joint fact sheet, and BIS’s updated Frequently Asked Questions, For any specific questions regarding exports or reexports to Cuba, please contact the Foreign Policy Division at (202) 482-4252.


BIS CUBA CALL-IN PROGRAM

 

BIS has scheduled monthly call-in programs to field questions from the exporting community concerning the Cuba rules published on January 16, 2015, July 22, 2015, September 21, 2015 and January 27, 2016.

 

The next programs will occur at 2 PM Eastern Time on February 9, March 8, April 12, May 10 and June 14, 2016.


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CALL-IN INFORMATION

Toll Number:                                                    1-210-838-9521
Toll Free Number:                                           1-888-889-0538

Passcode:   CUBA     

RELEVANT LINKS

January 2015 Cuba rule:                                         [LINK]

July 2015 Cuba rule:                                                [LINK]

September 2015 Cuba rule:                                   [LINK]

 

January 2016 Cuba rule:                                         [LINK]


FAQs:                                                                        [LINK

Licensing Policy

There is a general policy of denial for exports and reexports to Cuba of items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), as described in Section 746.2(b) of the EAR. However, there are exceptions to the general policy of denial, some of which are listed below:

•    Medicines and medical devices, whether sold or donated, are generally approved.
•    Items to ensure the safety of civil aviation and the safe operation of commercial aircraft engaged in international air transportation are generally approved.
•    Items necessary for the environmental protection of U.S. and international air quality, waters and coastlines, including items related to renewable energy or energy efficiency, are generally approved.
•    Telecommunications items that would improve communications to, from, and among the Cuban people are generally approved.
•    Items to meet the needs of the Cuban people, including items for export or reexport to state-owned enterprises, agencies, and other organizations of the Cuban government that provide goods and services for the use and benefit of the Cuban people, are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

In addition to authorization provided under licenses, there is authorization provided by license exception, some of which are described below.

License Exceptions

A license exception is an authorization to export or reexport under stated conditions certain items without a license that would otherwise require a license. Only the license exceptions, or portions thereof, listed Section 746.2(a)(1) of the EAR are available for Cuba.

You may export or reexport to Cuba without an individual validated license if your transaction meets all the applicable terms and conditions of the available license exceptions. To determine the scope and eligibility requirements, you must review the sections or specific paragraphs of Part 740 of the EAR. Read each license exception carefully, as the provisions available for sanctioned countries are generally narrow.

Support for the Cuban People

License Exception Support for the Cuban People (SCP) (Section 740.21 of the EAR) authorizes the export and reexport of certain items to Cuba that are intended to improve the living conditions, support independent economic activity, strengthen civil society, improve the free flow of information and facilitate travel and commerce. Items eligible for export and reexport to Cuba pursuant License Exception SCP must be for certain specified end uses and end user and are limited to those designated as EAR99 (i.e., items subject to the EAR but not specified on the Commerce Control List (CCL)) or controlled on the CCL only for anti-terrorism reasons.

Agricultural Commodities

License Exception Agricultural Commodities (AGR) (Section 740.18 of the EAR) authorizes the export or reexport of U.S.-origin agricultural commodities to Cuba, provided that your transaction meets all of the criteria in Section 740.18(a) of the EAR. Please note that the commodities must meet the definition of "agricultural commodities" in Part 772 of the EAR and must be designated as EAR99. To supplement the definition of "agricultural commodities" in the EAR, the U.S. Department of Agriculture maintains a list of specific commodities that fall within the definition.

Note: You must notify the Bureau of Industry and Security prior to any export or reexport (or prior to the first of multiple shipments) under License Exception AGR. Notifications are submitted through the Simplified Network Application Processing Redesign (SNAP-R). The U.S. Government has up to 11 business days to review your transaction prior to shipment. Exporters are required to check SNAP-R or the System for Tracking Export License Applications (STELA) prior to shipment to ensure that the U.S. Government has no objections to your proposed transaction. Please refer to Section 740.18(a) of the EAR for additional information regarding the terms and conditions for use of License Exception AGR. For assistance with using SNAP-R to submit AGR notices, please review the SNAP-R Exporter User Manual or call the Office of Exporter Services at (202) 482-4811.

Consumer Communications Devices

License Exception Consumer Communications Devices (CCD) (Section 740.19 of the EAR) authorizes the export and reexport of certain commodities and software to eligible recipients in Cuba. A list of the eligible items is located in Section 740.19(b) of the EAR. Eligible recipients are individuals in Cuba, other than certain Cuban Government and Communist Party officials, and independent non-governmental organizations in Cuba. Organizations administered or controlled by the Cuban Government or the Cuban Communist Party, including schools and hospitals, are not eligible recipients. Note that there are some restrictions on reexports of foreign-produced commodities by U.S.-owned or -controlled entities in third countries.

Gift Parcels

License Exception Gift Parcels and Humanitarian Donations (GFT) (Section 740.12(a) of the EAR) authorizes the export and reexport of certain donated items by an individual (donor), or a forwarding service acting on behalf of the donor, to an eligible recipient (donee). Gift parcels may contain a variety of items, including food, most medicines, medical supplies and devices, certain consumer communications devices, and other items of a type normally exchanged as gifts between individuals, subject to restrictions described in Section 740.12(a) of the EAR. Eligible recipients (donees) are individuals, other than certain Cuban Government or Cuban Communist Party officials, and charitable, educational, and religious organizations in Cuba that are not administered or controlled by the Cuban Government or the Cuban Communist Party. For example, hospitals or schools administered or controlled by the Cuban Government are not eligible recipients.

Donors may send one gift parcel per month per eligible recipient. The combined total domestic retail value of eligible items may not exceed $800 per gift parcel. However, the frequency and value limits do not apply to food donated in gift parcels. Items contained in gift parcels must also be in quantities normally given as gifts between individuals.

Aircraft and Vessels

Flying an aircraft or sailing a vessel to Cuba, even temporarily, constitutes an export or reexport to Cuba. If the aircraft or vessel is subject to the EAR (e.g., those departing from the United States),then BIS authorization is required, either through a license or license exception, to fly/sail to Cuba. Most aircraft and vessels on temporary sojourn to Cuba are eligible for License Exception Aircraft, Vessels, and Spacecraft (AVS) (Section 740.15 of the EAR). Note that all corresponding requirements and criteria must be met in order to be eligible.

When ineligible for the License Exception AVS, license applications for exports and reexports of aircraft and vessels on temporary sojourn to Cuba are reviewed on a case-by-case basis when they are used to deliver humanitarian goods or services or when their use is consistent with the foreign policy interests of the United States. You may contact the Foreign Policy Division at (202) 482-4252 for additional information regarding temporary sojourns and assistance with associated license applications..

Other U.S. Government Agencies

Please be aware that other U.S. Government agencies administer regulations that could also impact your export or reexport transaction. For example, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) maintains certain Cuba-related sanctions. Exporters and reexporters are responsible for complying with all applicable regulatory requirements.

 

Questions

For questions specific to Cuba, contact the Foreign Policy Division at 202-482-4252.