Treasury and State Departments Tighten Cuba Restrictions

NOVEMBER 9, 2017

The Treasury and Statement Departments this week announced additional trade sanctions and travel restrictions on Cuba, effective November 9. The new regulations follow up on President Trump’s statements five months ago to reverse former President Obama’s efforts to normalize relations between the two countries.

Under the Treasury Department’s new rules, most individual travel to Cuba will no longer be allowed. Americans will now have to be part of U.S.-based educational or cultural exchange groups, and they will have to be accompanied by representatives from those groups. U.S citizens also will be barred from staying at a list of hotels and from patronizing restaurants and stores that the State Department has determined are owned by or benefit members of the Cuban government.

Similar restrictions on commercial relations with Cuba were put in to prevent any exchanges with the 180 entities on a list issued this week by the State Department.

Trump administration officials emphasized in announcing the new regulations that the rules do not affect certain existing travel and commercial transactions. For example, the Treasury Department will allow individuals who have “completed at least one travel-related transaction (such as purchasing a flight or reserving accommodations) prior to” the publication of the new regulations in the Federal Register to proceed with the travel.

Similarly, businesses that have signed contracts with Cuban entities on the State Department’s list prior to publication of the new regulations in the Federal Register may proceed with the agreements.

ILMA members with travel or business plans with Cuba or Cuban entities should review the new regulations and fact sheets published by the Treasury and State Departments.