Bureau of Industry and Security Implements Removal of State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation for Cuba


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Today, the United States Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) implemented the Secretary of State’s removal of Cuba from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. The revisions, on public display today at the Federal Register, eliminate references in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker previously gave remarks regarding President Obama’s decision to normalize diplomatic ties with Cuba at a forum in Tampa, Florida, hosted by Congresswoman Kathy Castor, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, and the Tampa International Airport. In her remarks, she reiterated how these new relations with Cuba will spur prosperity for the Cuban people and open opportunities for U.S. businesses in Tampa, across Florida, and around the country.

Secretary Pritzker, during her remarks in Tampa, further clarified the Department of Commerce’s crucial role in reestablishing economic ties with Cuba pointing out that  the Department will guide and facilitate more travel to the island and open the door to more trade:

“Here is the bottom line,” Secretary Pritzker explained: “we need these new trade agreements, or our businesses and the workers they employ risk being left behind. Our new policy allows American firms to increase exports of goods like agricultural products, medicines and medical devices, and building materials, to an untapped market.”

The Commerce Department's further regulatory revisions for exports to Cuba reflect the overall effort of the Obama Administration to adapt policies to new challenges and opportunities, as America continues to lead and compete in a global economy. 

Changes resulting from the removal of the State Sponsor of Terrorism designation include permitting the reexport to Cuba of foreign-made products with up to 25% U.S.-origin content, (up from the current level of 10%), and also generally allowing the export of replacement parts for items legally exported to Cuba.  In addition, general aviation, such as corporate jets, may now use license exceptions for trips to Cuba.  License exceptions allow for exports or reexports under certain conditions that would otherwise require a license under the EAR.  Previously, only charter flights were eligible for this license exception. Consistent with the comprehensive embargo on trade with Cuba, however, a license will still be required to export or reexport to Cuba any item subject to EAR unless a license exception is available.  

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is one of twelve bureaus of the Department of Commerce. The BIS controls exports and reexports of commodities, technology, and software to support national security and foreign policy, including nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and missile non-proliferation, human rights, regional stability, and curbing terrorism. BIS has posted guidance to help exporters understand the updated regulations.

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Last updated: 2015-07-21 18:17

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