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US further eases trade, travel restrictions on Cuba

The United States further eased restrictions on business and travel with Cuba on Friday, as it presses forward in rebuilding long-frozen relations with its former Cold War foe.



Washington: The United States further eased restrictions on business and travel with Cuba on Friday, as it presses forward in rebuilding long-frozen relations with its former Cold War foe.

Two months after formally restoring diplomatic relations with Havana, the US made it easier for Americans to establish and operate businesses in Cuba, removed remittance limits, and widened travel opportunities to the Caribbean island nation.

It also cleared up small, but for businesses, irksome restrictions that had prevented representatives of US businesses working in other countries from taking their own computers into Cuba, and which blocked the use in the United States of Cuban-developed apps for cellphones and computers.

The new moves further break down the sanctions that were in place since the early 1960s until President Barack Obama reversed course by announcing an opening to the communist country last December.

And taken together, they make it easier for US companies, including those of the large community of Cuban-Americans, and Cuban entrepreneurs to begin building businesses in the communist Cuban economy.

But many of the allowed activities still apply to a limited list of "authorized" travelers and businesses, as Washington continues to move cautiously and Obama administration policy remains hamstrung by the sweeping 1996 Helms-Burton law which toughened the original 1960 embargo on Cuba.

The changes issued by the Treasury and Commerce departments removed limits on remittances from the United States to Cuba, as well as on the amount of money people hand-carry to Cuba.

Authorized US travelers to Cuba will be able to open bank accounts there, form joint ventures with Cuban firms, and open offices, warehouses and retail outlets. 

From Zee News

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