New York, September 18, 2015 — Americas Society and Council of the Americas commend U.S. President Barack Obama's commitment to expand U.S. commercial engagement with the Cuban people by releasing new regulatory changes to advance the normalization of long-strained relations with Cuba. The executive actions taking effect on September 21, 2015 will further ease sanctions related to travel, telecommunications and internet-based services, business operations in Cuba, and remittances. In the absence of congressional action that legislates the will of the American people and lifts the outdated trade embargo with Cuba, the announced regulatory changes pave the road for an unprecedented expansion in U.S. trade and investment in the island.
“The new regulations represent a huge leap in the process of establishing meaningful commercial engagement with Cuba,” said AS/COA President and CEO Susan Segal. “The business community, not just in the United States but in the entire hemisphere, has embraced this new era of Cuba opening. They see these regulatory changes as necessary tools to provide crucial traction to their initiatives, and look forward to a full lifting of sanctions in our embargo policy.”
“We continue to talk about next steps in U.S.-Cuba policy, and here we have it. This updating of the regulations is a big step to fulfill the goals of greater engagement and empowerment of the Cuban people and the island’s growing private sector, together with the U.S. private sector,” said AS/COA Director of Policy and head of the Cuba Working Group Alana Tummino. “We now look to both the Cuban Government and the U.S. Congress for the same level of commitment.”
The amendments to Cuba regulations come in the lead up to the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly where Cuban President Raúl Castro will deliver his first address ever. Over the last seven years, AS/COA has stood at the forefront of supporting U.S. policy opening, economic development, entrepreneurship, and engagement in Cuba. In June 2015, AS/COA led its third business delegation to Havana to continue promoting the benefits of economic ties between both nations.
For an AS/COA Cuba Working Group summary on the U.S. Departments of Treasury and Commerce January 15, 2015 regulations on travel and trade with Cuba, click here.
AS/COA's Cuba Working Group (CWG) includes corporate leaders from the worlds of banking, financial services, energy, telecommunications, hospitality, pharmaceuticals, and law. Working group meetings look at the steps companies can take under current U.S. restrictions to pre-position themselves for future investment. This effort has produced a series of papers on regulations and laws affecting U.S. business activity under the U.S. embargo and in Cuba.