export-controls 06 June 2019

US adds further restrictions to Cuba travel

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (‘OFAC’) says it has ‘unveiled’ amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (‘CACR’), adding new restrictions on contact with Cuba, including travel. The US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (‘BIS’) has also ‘unveiled’ changes to the Export Administration Regulations (‘EAR’) to ‘complement’ the OFAC changes.

Key elements of the changes include an amendment of the regulations to remove the authorisation for group people-to-people educational travel – although a grandfathering provision means that ‘certain group people-to-people educational travel that previously was authorized will continue to be authorized where the traveler had already completed at least one travel-related transaction (such as purchasing a flight or reserving accommodation) prior to June 5, 2019.’

In addition, ‘BIS, in coordination with OFAC, is amending the EAR to make passenger and recreational vessels and private and corporate aircraft ineligible for a license exception and to establish a general policy of denial for license applications involving those vessels and aircraft.’

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said: ‘This Administration has made a strategic decision to reverse the loosening of sanctions and other restrictions on the Cuban regime.  These actions will help to keep U.S. dollars out of the hands of Cuban military, intelligence, and security services.’

The actions, says the Treasury, ‘mark a continued commitment towards implementing the National Security Presidential Memorandum signed by the President on June 16, 2017 titled “Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba.”  These policies continue to work to channel economic activities away from the Cuban military, intelligence, and security services.’