WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 (UPI) — The U.S. restriction on Cuban cigars and rum was lifted Friday by an executive action of the Obama administration.
Importation of the two famous products of the Cuban culture and economy, illegal for nearly 60 years, is now permitted. A $400 limit on Cuban products brought to the United States by travelers was also lifted, allowing returning residents to bring back as many cigars and bottles of rum as they like. Travelers must declare the items are for personal use, and all appropriate duties and taxes must be paid.
Also announced was approval of joint medical research projects between the two countries, and the lifting of a restriction prohibiting a foreign ship from entering a U.S. port to load or unload cargo within six months of that ship’s visit to a Cuban port.
The executive actions issued Friday are meant to increase trade and travel with Cuba, and are the sixth set of rules regarding trade and tourism since the start of a thaw in diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States was announced on Dec. 17, 2014.
“President Obama’s historic announcement in December 2014 charted a new course for a stronger, more open U.S.-Cuba relationship,” said Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.
“The Treasury Department has worked to break down economic barriers in areas such as travel, trade and commerce, banking, and telecommunications. Today’s action builds on this progress by enabling more scientific collaboration, grants and scholarships, people-to-people contact, and private sector growth. These steps have the potential to accelerate constructive change and unlock greater economic opportunity for Cubans and Americans.”
The U.S. embargo on Cuba, is still, however in place, and American corporations are still prohibited from importing Cuban products into the United States.